Takeaways from Jay Shetty’s book on how to train your mind for peace and purpose everyday
For those of you who do not know who Jay Shetty is. He an influencer whose amassed billions of views on social media spreading positivity. These are some of the timeless wisdom and pearls of gold that he is sharing with the world.
“LOCATION HAS ENERGY It is easier to see the value of being present throughout an ordinary day, and easier to be truly present if you understand and appreciate the benefits that routine has to offer. Routines aren’t just about actions; they’re also about the locations in which those actions take place. There’s a reason people study better in libraries and work better in offices. New York City imparts its hustle and bustle, while LA makes you feel laid back. Each environment—from the biggest city to the smallest corner of a room—has its own particular energy. Every location gives off a different feeling, and your dharma thrives—or falters—in specific environments.”
“in your bedroom is to confuse the energy of that space. If you bring those energies to your bedroom, it becomes harder to sleep there. Even in the tiniest apartment, you can dedicate spaces to different activities. Every home should have a place to eat. A place to sleep. A sacred space that helps you feel calm and a space that feels comforting when you are angry. Create spaces that bring you the energy that matches your intention. A bedroom should have few distractions, calm colors, soft lighting.
“Location has energy; time has memory. If you do something at the same time every day, it becomes easier and natural. If you do something in the same space every day, it becomes easier and natural.”
“They were white enough; they looked great. But then the dentist told me that I’d damaged my gums. Now I spend four seconds on each tooth. I count in my head, one, two, three, four, which gives me something to do. I’m still spending the same amount of time brushing my teeth, but I’m doing it in a more effective way. If I think about business when I’m brushing my teeth or in the shower, it doesn’t feel nourishing and energizing, and I don’t take care with my gums. When you’re brushing, just brush. When you’re showering, just shower.”
“After you break the barrier and commit yourself wholly, you start experiencing the benefits. You lose track of time. The feeling of being fully engaged is often so rewarding that when it’s time to stop, you want to return to the experience.”
“A senior monk once told me an old Cherokee story about these dilemmas which all of us agonize over: “An elder tells his grandson, ‘Every choice in life is a battle between two wolves inside us. One represents anger, envy, greed, fear, lies, insecurity, and ego. The other represents peace, love, compassion, kindness, humility, and positivity. They are competing for supremacy.’ “ ‘Which wolf wins?’ the grandson asks. ‘The one you feed,’ the elder replies.” “But how do we feed them?” I asked my teacher. The monk said, “By what we read and hear. By who we spend time with. By what we do with our time. By where we focus our energy and attention.”
“This, then, is the first step to understanding our minds—simply becoming aware of the different voices inside us. Starting to differentiate what you’re hearing will immediately help you make better decisions.”
“five minutes, barely anyone stopped to listen or donate. He made about $30. Three days before the subway performance he had played the same violin at Boston’s Symphony Hall, where the decent seats went for $100. There are many reasons people might not stop to hear a brilliant musician playing, but one of them is certainly that they were on autopilot, powering through the rush hour crowds. How much do we miss when we’re in default mode?”
“Treat yourself with the same love and respect you want to show to others.”
“The crane stands still in water, ignoring the small fish as they pass by. Her stillness allows her to catch the bigger fish. Detachment is a form of self-control that has infinite benefits across every form of self-awareness that I talk about in this book, but its origin is always in the mind. The Gita defines detachment as doing the right thing for its own sake, because it needs to be done, without worrying about success or failure.”
“They are forever free who renounce all selfish desires and break away from the ego cage of “I,” “me,” and “mine” —Bhagavad Gita, 2:71
“I’ve mentioned the persona that we present to the world. It is a complex stew of who we are, who we want to be, how we hope to be seen others. There is a meme that shows Warren Buffett and Bill Gates standing side by side. The caption reads, “$162 Billion in one photo and not a Gucci belt in sight.” I have nothing against Gucci belts, but the point is that if you are satisfied with who you are, you don’t need to prove your worth to anyone else.”
“The question this beautiful friendship evokes is: Why does it take a tragedy for us to come together? Our ego sets us on a path where we put more value on ourselves and those whom we recognize as being “like us.”
“Every monk in this story reprimanded another monk for speaking and, in so doing, became guilty of that same sin himself. That is the nature of judgment: It almost always backfires on us in one way or another. In the act of criticizing others for failing to live up to higher standards, we ourselves are failing to live up to the highest standards.”
“In many cases, we’re passing judgment to deflect others’ attention or our own from shortcomings we see in ourselves. “Projection” is the psychological term for our tendency to project onto others emotions or feelings that we don’t wish to deal with ourselves. And projection happens a lot! So, before judging others, pause for a moment and ask: Am I finding fault in order to distract myself or others from my own insecurities? Am I projecting my own weakness onto them? And even if I’m doing neither of those things, am I any better than the person I’m criticizing? I can’t say what the answers to the first two questions will be in every case. But the answer to the third question is always “No!”
“When you’re sitting in a group of people, waiting for someone to finish talking so you can tell your fabulous story or make a witty comment, you’re not absorbing the essence of what’s being said. Your ego is champing at the bit, ready to show how clever and interesting you are.”
“You can write off the familiar, or you can use it as a deeper reflection point. Even if you think you already know a story, try to live it as a new experience every time.”
“My drive to spread wisdom doesn’t fit perfectly into the monk framework. I am compelled to share ideas and philosophy in ways that are more modern. This may be my dharma, but it is not the goal of being a monk. It is not the sacred practice. I don’t know if this path is for me. This thought hits me, and it upsets me deeply. I can’t see myself leaving. And I wonder if my doubts come from my physical state. Am I in the right frame of mind to make a decision?”
“Some tasks build competence, and some build character. The brainless activities annoyed me, but eventually I learned that doing an activity that was mentally unchallenging freed space for reflection and introspection. It was worthwhile after all.”
“start a support group called From Death to Life for other mothers whose children had been killed, and she wanted to include mothers whose children had taken a life. Johnson didn’t think she could deal with the mothers of murderers unless she truly forgave Israel, so she reached out and asked to speak to him. When they met, he asked if he could hug her. She says, “As I got up, I felt something rising from the soles of my feet and leaving me.” After the initial meeting, the pair began to meet regularly, and when Israel was released from prison, Johnson spoke to her landlord and asked if Israel could move into her building. “Unforgiveness is like cancer. It will eat you from the inside out,” says Johnson. She wears a necklace with a double-sided locket; on one side is a picture of her with her son, and on the other is a picture of Israel, who says he is still trying to forgive himself. The pair, who now live next door to each other, visit prisons and churches to talk about their story and the power of forgiveness.”
“Once a group from the ashram backpacked across Scandinavia, hosting pop-up meditations in city centers. Most people we encountered were very warm, interested in health, and open to meditation. But at one of our stops in Denmark I went up to a gentleman and asked, “Have you heard of meditation? We’d love to teach you.” He said, “Couldn’t you do anything better with your life?” My ego flared. I wanted to say, “I’m not stupid. I’m smart! I graduated from a really good school! I could be making six figures. I didn’t have to do this—I chose it!” I really wanted to set this guy straight. Instead I said, “I hope you have a wonderful day. If you want to learn how to meditate, please come back.” I felt my ego respond. I noticed it but refused to indulge it. This is the reality of keeping our ego in check. It doesn’t disappear, but we can observe it and limit its power over us. True humility is one step beyond simply repressing the ego as I did.”
“You’re looking at how they’re behaving today,” he said. “I’m looking at how far they’ve come.”
The monk was remembering the good they’d done and forgetting the bad. He didn’t take their behavior as a reflection of himself, or of their respect for him. He took a longer view that had nothing to do with himself.”
“Arguing with a partner. The desire to be right, to win, comes from your ego’s unwillingness to admit weakness. Remember you can be right, or you can move forward. See the other person’s side. Lose the battle. Wait a day and see how it feels.”
“Humility allows you to see your own strengths and weaknesses clearly, so you can work, learn, and grow. Confidence and high self-esteem help you accept yourself as you are, humble, imperfect, and striving. Let’s not confuse an inflated ego with healthy self-esteem.”
“The ego wants everyone to like you. High self-esteem is just fine if they don’t. The ego thinks it knows everything. Self-esteem thinks it can learn from anyone. The ego wants to prove itself. Self-esteem wants to express itself.”
“If you ask too broadly, you’ll get fifty-seven different options and will be overwhelmed, confused, and lost. On the other hand, if you drop all your dilemmas on one person, then they’ll be overwhelmed, unequipped, and at some point tired of carrying your baggage.”
“The way around these obstacles is to filter the feedback. Reflect instead of judging. Be curious. Don’t pretend you understand. Ask clarifying questions. Ask questions that help you define practical steps toward improvement.”
Until the whole world is healed and happy, I haven’t finished. Aiming higher and higher—beyond ourselves to our community, our country, our planet—and realizing the ultimate goal is unattainable is what keeps us humble.”
“Real greatness is when you use your own achievements to teach others, and they learn how to teach others, and the greatness that you’ve accomplished expands exponentially. Rather than seeing achievement as status, think of the role you play in other people’s lives as the most valuable currency. When you expand your vision, you realize that even people who have it all derive the greatest satisfaction from service.”
“For example, if you meditate on a place where you feel happy and relaxed, your breath and pulse shift, your energy changes, and you draw that feeling into your reality.”
“Appreciate everything, even the ordinary. Especially the ordinary.” —Pema Chödrön
“I probably couldn’t have articulated it then, but that day I gleaned how much had been given to me. The biggest difference between me and that girl was where and to whom we had been born. My father, in fact, had worked his way out of the slums in Pune, not far from Mumbai. I was the product of immense hard work and sacrifice. In the ashram, I began my gratitude practice by returning to the awareness I’d started to feel at nine years old, and feeling grateful for what was already mine: my life and health, my ease and safety and the confidence that I would continue to be fed and sheltered and loved. All of it was a gift.”
“Meal gratitude. One in every nine people on earth do not have enough food to eat every day. That’s nearly 800 million people. Choose one meal of the day and commit to taking a moment before you dig in to give thanks for the food. Take inspiration from Native American prayers or make up your own. If you have a family, take turns offering thanks.”
“applied for a job at Twitter, but even though he was quite good at what he did, he was rejected. When he received the news, he tweeted, “Got denied by Twitter HQ. That’s ok. Would have been a long commute.” He next applied for a job at Facebook. Soon after he tweeted, “Facebook turned me down. It was a great opportunity to connect with some fantastic people. Looking forward to life’s next adventure.” He didn’t hesitate to post his failures on social media, and never expressed anything but gratitude for the opportunities. After these setbacks, he ended up working on an app in his personal time. Five years later Facebook bought WhatsApp, the app Brian Acton cofounded, for $19 billion.”
“The jobs at the companies that rejected Acton would have paid far less than he made off WhatsApp. Instead of fixating on the rejections and adopting a poverty mentality, he just waited gratefully to see what might be in store for him.”
“Don’t judge the moment. As soon as you label something as bad, your mind starts to believe it. Instead, be grateful for setbacks. Allow the journey of life to progress at its own pace and in its own roundabout way. The universe may have other plans in store for you.”
Helen Keller, who became deaf and blind as a toddler after an unidentified illness, wrote, “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”
The car idled for an unusually long time, and when I finally noticed and asked the driver if everything was okay, he said, “Yes, I’m just waiting for you to say hi back to me.” It was a wake-up call, and you can bet I’m more careful about acknowledging people now.
“Taking a broader view helps us minimize our pain and appreciate what we have, and we directly access this broader view by giving.”
“If your relationships are complicated, accept their complexity. Try to find forgiveness for their failures and gratitude for their efforts.”
“We tend to think of gratitude as appreciation for what we have been given. Monks feel the same way. And if you ask a monk what he has been given, the answer is everything.”
“My mom would also not be the best person to ask about career moves. Like many mothers, she is most concerned with my well-being: how I’m feeling, whether I’m eating well, if I’m getting enough sleep. She is there with care and consistency, but she’s not going to counsel me on managing my company.”
“MAKE YOUR OWN FAMILY In order to find diversity, we have to be open to new connections. Part of growing up—at any age—is accepting that our family of origin may never be able to give us all that we need. It’s okay to accept what you do and don’t get from the people who raised you. And it’s okay—necessary, in fact —to protect yourself from those in your family who aren’t good for you.”
“Everyone in the ashram was my family. And, as we traveled and connected with people across India and Europe, I began to recognize that everyone in the world was my family. As Gandhi said, “The golden way is to be friends with the world and to regard the whole human family as one.”
“Making and fulfilling promises (contractual trust) Giving those you care about sincere compliments and constructive criticism; going out of your way to offer support (mutual trust) Standing by someone even when they are in a bad place, have made a mistake, or need help that requires significant time (pure trust)
“To stop drinking? That was easy for me. To stop gambling? I’d never done much of that in the first place. And I’d stopped eating meat at sixteen. For me, giving up romantic relationships was the hardest sacrifice. It sounded ridiculous, even impossible. But I knew the purpose behind it: to save the effort and energy that went into being validated in a romantic relationship and to use it to build a relationship with myself.”
“The last two—emotional and spiritual—point to a more profound, lasting connection—they show your compatibility.”
Do you understand why and what it means for the giver? Conversation. Listening is one of the most thoughtful gifts we can give. There is no better way to show that we care about another person’s experience.
Give all your focus to the other person. Instead of having an agenda, be curious. If a topic doesn’t emerge, ask them open-ended questions to land on a subject that’s important to them:
These six exchanges can be thoughtless and empty, or they can have true depth and meaning. But don’t judge people’s efforts without giving them a chance to succeed. Nobody can read minds. If your roommate or partner doesn’t guess that you want them to organize your birthday party, it’s not their fault. Instead, be clear and honest with them about what you need.
TRY THIS: ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT Tell the important people in your life how you like to receive love. When we don’t tell people what we want, we expect them to read our minds and often judge them for failing to do so. This week, be more genuine in asking people for help rather than waiting for them to predict what you want.
In How to Love, Thich Nhat Hanh writes, “Often, we get crushes on others not because we truly love and understand them, but to distract ourselves from our suffering.
But going to the same place for dinner or to the place you had your first kiss won’t bring back all the magic. Many of us are so addicted to re-creating the same experiences that we don’t make space for new ones.
- Meditate and chant together. (See page 270.) When a couple who has just had an argument comes into a room, you can feel the negative energy vibrating between them. The opposite is true when you and your partner chant together. You are bringing your energy to the same place and feel, literally, in tune with each other.
“Believe in your worth. You may undervalue yourself in the moment of a breakup, but your value doesn’t depend on someone’s ability to fully appreciate you. If you wrap your identity around the relationship, the pain you feel is that you’ve had to sacrifice that part of your identity. If you expected one person to fulfill all of your needs, then of course there is a vacuum when they’re gone.”
“Wait before dating again. Remember, if you haven’t healed past pain, you might miss your next opportunity for an incredible connection with an incredible person. Don’t rebound or revenge-date. This only causes more hurt and regret that spread further, a virus of pain. Instead, take some time to get to know yourself better. Build your self-esteem. Invest in your growth. If you’ve lost yourself in the relationship, find yourself in the heartbreak.
“We recall Helen Keller’s refrain: “I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.” This is, unfortunately, no exaggeration. In India, you often see people with missing limbs.”
“This instinct is most obvious in children, who aren’t yet distracted by other demands on their time and attention. An image that went viral shows a little girl, probably about two years old, watching a politician crying on Japanese TV. She takes a tissue, goes up to the TV, and tries to wipe away the politician’s tears. Such things go viral because we recognize—and perhaps miss—the little girl’s compassion for another person, even a stranger.”
“The hero’s journey isn’t fulfilled until he makes it home safely and shares what he has gained (the elixir) with others. The idea of service is woven into classic story structure as a key part of a happy ending.”
“Find me someone who has gone to the darkest parts of their own character where they were so close to their own self-destruction and found a way to get up and out of it, and I will bow on my knees to you.… You’re my teacher.”
“On a larger scale, we participated in a program called Annamrita, which provides more than a million meals a day to the underprivileged children of India. We often went to Mumbai to cook in the kitchens or to serve food in the schools. The students were given kitchari, a rice and lentil porridge made with ghee that’s considered a staple in Ayurvedic cooking, and afterward they would receive dessert, a sweet rice pudding called kheer. The first time I handed a child kheer, her gratitude was so apparent that I was humbled. It was the same with every child, every time, each face radiating joy. I hate cooking—the hot kitchen full of people, the massive pots to be tended. But the kids’ faces—and the sad truth they told about how rare and special the food was to them—made it easy to feel grateful for the opportunity to serve.”
“People who were lower in socioeconomic status were more generous than wealthier participants. These findings are backed up by a survey of charitable giving in 2011, which showed that Americans in the bottom percentage of income gave, on average, 3 percent of their earnings to charity where people in the top 20 percent gave half that—1 percent.”
“Why those with less give more may have to do with their exposure to hardship. UC Berkeley professor of psychology Dacher Keltner says that people with fewer resources tend to need to lean on others—family members, friends, those in their community—for help. Those with more money, conversely, can “buy” help and are therefore more distanced from this kind of day-to-day struggle.”
“TRY THIS: SERVE THE PAIN THAT YOU KNOW BEST One route to service is through healing the pain that we know best. Write down three moments in your life when you felt lost or in need. Maybe you were depressed and could have used support. Maybe you wanted an education you couldn’t afford. Maybe you needed guidance but didn’t have the right teacher. Match a charity or cause to each area of pain. A teen hotline. A scholarship fund. A mentoring program. A politician. Now see if any of these options have opportunities to serve that suit your dharma.”
“Here’s the life hack: Service is always the answer. It fixes a bad day. It tempers the burdens we bear. Service helps other people and helps us. We don’t expect anything in return, but what we get is the joy of service. It’s an exchange of love.”
“The second effect you’ll notice is an increased awareness of what’s going on in your mind. If you meditate and feel tired, you’ll understand that meditation is telling you to get more sleep. Meditation is a signal or a mirror. If you meditate and can’t focus, you’ll see that you’re living a distracted life and need to feel order, balance, and simplicity. If you can’t sit with your thoughts for fifteen minutes, it’s a clear indicator of the work to be done.”
“Impatient, the student persisted, “But what if I work very hard? I will practice, ten or more hours every day if I have to. Then how long will it take?” This time the teacher took a moment to consider. “Twenty years.”
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Davidson Hang is currently in Sales at Cheetah Digital which is a Marketing technology company located in NYC.
Davidson is an avid networker, personal growth- life and business coach.
He loves spreading the love and regularly helps people create and design the life they want for themselves.
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