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7 Life Lessons From Two Monks Turned Entrepreneurs

by Michael Leonard on July 20, 2021

Perspective is powerful.

It’s amazing how two people can see the same even and have completely different opinions about what happened. Our beliefs shape how we see the world and make it easy to have tunnel vision and see everything through that lenses if we’re not careful.

But sometimes, you need to think outside the box so you can see the world differently to make massive changes in your life. To help you do that, I want to introduce you to two people who could drastically change your way of thinking and help you get more out of life.

Jay Shetty and Dandapani.

Both are former monks who are now international speakers and wildly successful entrepreneurs. Between the two of them, they’ve had billions of views from their viral videos and impacted people worldwide.

So why are they so popular?

Because they offer a unique perspective on life that most people can’t even imagine. What they learned in the monastery are huge lessons that most don’t get to learn in traditional education.

Think about it… Imagine going from living in an isolated monastery to a world of social media, information overload, traffic, and busyness overnight? Crazy! But the more you learn from them, the more you can use these principles to make cosmic shifts in your own life.

Here are the seven unlikely life lessons I learned from two former monks turned entrepreneurs.

 

1. Learn the Art of Focus 

Focus feels like a superpower in 2021. 

With so much technology and other distractions, staying focused on one task at a time seems very challenging for most people. In fact, a 2015 Time Magazine story said,  

“The average attention span for the notoriously ill-focused goldfish is nine seconds, but according to a new study from Microsoft Corp., people now generally lose concentration after eight seconds, highlighting the effects of an increasingly digitalized lifestyle on the brain.”

That’s right, the average person has about as much focus as a goldfish… yikes. Which makes sense as the average person checks their smartphone up to 80 times per day

A common theme from these two former monks was how much clarity they have in life. They got that clarity, self-awareness, and focus from practicing meditation and not being glued to technology. 

Simply put, they learned how to focus their mind… a skill that most of us could greatly benefit from. One thing specifically that stands out is how important it is to learn how to be alone. Just you and your thoughts… no phones, screens, or technology. 

They taught me that being alone doesn’t have to be a bad thing, and can actually be exactly what you need. In fact, it’s often the best time to learn about yourself and figure out how to improve your life. As Rumi said, “Listen to silence, it has so much to say.”  

 

2. Meditation and Gratitude To Achieve True Happiness

Morning routines seem to be one of the few similarities that super achievers in business and sports share. Both these monks cemented that belief even further by sharing their two secrets to a successful morning routine: meditation and gratitude.

As a monk, the first thing they practiced each morning was giving thanks to Earth for the food, water, and ability to live. Jay Shetty said that while the movement of gratitude journals and even gratitude studios seems new to most, it’s an ancient tradition that has been around for centuries. 

After giving thanks to the Earth, another key part of their morning (and a lot of their day) is meditation. This makes sense as the benefits of meditation are endless. This tradition has helped many people find more clarity, focus, and calmness throughout the day. 

Even if you only have 5-10 minutes each morning, try to take some time to appreciate a few things and spend some time in silence. Whether you have a formal meditation practice or use an app like Headspace, try to start your day with these two rituals. 

 

3. Don’t Let Technology Control You 

After leaving monkhood behind them and getting back into the real world, both monks were shocked at how many humans were slaves to technology. Mainly because of the energy that it takes from us so frequently throughout the day. 

As Dandapani said, “Treat energy the same you treat money. It's a finite resource that needs to be wisely managed and invested.” 

Remember, your energy is a finite resource, no matter how much we think caffeine will help. Don’t spend hours and hours of your day scrolling social media, as it will zap your energy and kill your productivity.  

Technology doesn’t have to be a bad thing as long as we control it, not the other way around. 

 

4. Passion & Purpose Equals Ultimate Fulfillment

It’s been said that if you find your passion, you will never work a day in your life. 

So how do you find your passion? 

According to Jay Shetty, it’s simple. Just ask yourself these four questions:

  • What do I love?
  • What am I good at?
  • How do I get paid for it?
  • What does the world need?
  •  

    When you find the intersection of these four questions, you can unlock your passion and find your purpose. While it likely won’t happen overnight, it can happen sooner than you think. 

    Use these four questions to gain more clarity so you can work on projects that you’re passionate about and share your gifts with the world. 

     

    5. Use Affirmations To Retrain Your Mind

    It’s been said that the words “I am” are two of the most powerful words that you can use in your vocabulary. What you say after those two powerful words can have a huge impact on the set of messages that play over and over in your mind. 

    For good or bad… 

    But it’s up to you to make sure whatever comes after those words are positive, hopeful statements, not negative ones. A Psychology Today article said, “One of the ways to recognize, promote, and sustain optimism, hope, and joy is to intentionally fill our thoughts with positive self-talk.”

    In fact, Time Magazine reports that studies have shown that at least 90% of everything we do is controlled by our subconscious mind. Which is both good and bad. 

    The bad news is, most people don’t realize how much they do every single day is a habit. The good news is that you can retrain your subconscious mind using affirmations. As long as you do them correctly and intentionally. 

    Dandapani spoke more about how to use affirmations in a London Real interview, “Three ingredients are necessary for affirmations to work: 

  • Have a clear visualization
  • Feel a corresponding feeling. 
  • Concise choice of positive words.”
  •  

    By repeating affirmations with a clear picture, a corresponding feeling, and short positive statement can have a huge impact on your subconscious mind. 

    One of the great examples of this is Muhammad Ali, who repeatedly said, “I am the greatest” over and over again. Eventually, it happened and is known today as one of the greatest boxers of all time. 

    Muhammad Ali even once said, “It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.” 

    Use affirmations to plant positive messages in your mind and set yourself up for success. 

     

    6. Welcome New Experiences

    Have you ever had a normal day going until something new and unexpected happened? Maybe you met a new person or had an unexpected event that altered your way of thinking. Sometimes a new experience can shift your life in ways you never imagined. 

    As Jay Shetty said, “We live in echo chambers. We’re just surrounded by the same thinking. How often do you bump into a monk?”

     While you might not run into a monk tomorrow, don’t be afraid to welcome new experiences into your life. Get out of your comfort zone and meet new people so you can continue to evolve and grow.

    As brain researcher John Assaraf said, “A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.” 

     

    7. Simplify Your Life

    The final lesson from these two monks was the importance of simplifying your life. I once heard Jay Shetty in a podcast interview say, “Detachment is not that you own nothing. It’s that nothing owns you.”

    Think about that for a second… nothing owns you. 

    Imagine the type of mental freedom that comes when nothing owns you. While I’m not saying you need to sell all your worldly belongings tomorrow, don’t let “things” bog you down (both physically or mentally).

    I’ve realized the more physical and mental space I have, the more relaxed, focused, and disciplined I have become.

    Remember, life is all about perspective. 

    If you want more from your life and are eager to make positive shifts, change your perspective. Try to look at things differently and use these lessons as a guide to live the life you have always wanted. 

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