Book Title: Think Like A Monk
How strongly I recommend it: 2/5 Stars
Fame, money, glamour, sex – in the end, none of these things will truly satisfy us. We’ll simply seek more and more, and in the end, we’ll live in a circuit that leads to frustration, dissatisfaction, unhappiness and exhaustion. In light of this, Shetty tries to solve a common predicament – how can we train our minds to find peace, calm and purpose?
Overall, I thought this was an average read with a bit too many quotations and anecdotes. Shetty doesn’t necessarily have an original message (I found a lot of similarities between him and other motivational writers, like Tony Robbins), but maybe that’s a sign that this way of thinking, really does work.
Amazon Page Link: Click Here
How I discovered it? Christmas (2020) Present
Who should read it? Broad based appeal. Easy read.
This book is centered around three key steps the reader needs to take to embark on this journey; Letting Go, Growing and Giving. Letting Go is about finding authentic goals and motivations in life. When reading this chapter, it was a surprise for me to realise how many of my desires are being fed by external factors (e.g. what will make my parents proud or what I should be doing at my age).
The next step in this journey is to ‘Grow’. By this, Shetty means turning your goals into a purpose (or ‘Dharma’). This is like a mission statement for what you want to achieve – the best ones, will be something you’re passionate about, you’re good at and is useful to the world. Once you have a Dharma, you need to build a routine around it i.e. wake up early, be uniquely focused and frequently visualize where you want to be.
The final step in this journey is to ‘Give’. Shetty argues that the highest purpose in life is to live in service to others. This doesn’t necessarily mean giving everything away, but trying to make the lives of others better, will help to remove some of the negative emotions that you can have about yourself.
- Always try to be Authentic
Only when you tune out OEO’s (Opinions, Expectations and Obligations) will you realize what you truly want. So many of our desires are a reflection of what we think other people expect from us, that we live in this trapped identity.
- Monk Mind – Find time to reflect
Shetty refers to two parts of our minds. The first is the ‘Monkey Mind’ which is pre-occupied, chaotic and selfish. Then there’s the ‘Monk Mind’ which is thoughtful, objective and detached.
By creating spaces for reflection such as daily journaling and meditation, you can use the ‘Monk Mind’ to find balance, especially after long, stressful days.
- Cause of fear is attachment. Cure for fear is detachment
When you disassociate yourself from things, you become less fearful. This is a very stoic way of looking at the world but can help manage some common setbacks in life.
- Be Present: Single-task whenever I can
Studies have found that only 2% of us can multi-task effectively. Single-tasking is about focusing on one thing and doing it well. Ways to incorporate this in our daily lives include, blocking out time to not use any technology, being present in every moment and training our minds to do mundane tasks really well e.g. brushing each tooth for 4 seconds.
- No single person can be a complete package
Expecting one relationship to provide everything you need in life, is unrealistic. Instead, you should look to build a unit of people around you that can service your different needs; e.g. having someone for emotional support, someone for career support, someone for intellectual discussions.
- You have nothing to give as it is not yours in the first place
Interesting perspective. Most things you supposedly own, don’t truly belong to you. Your material wealth is just a function of things you cannot truly control (e.g. upbringing, intellect, luck). When you die, all of these things are left behind. Therefore, losing things or giving them away, does not truly cost you, anything.
I am not what I think I am. I am what I think, you think, I am
Asch experiment – ‘Group Think’
Individuals were asked a basic question with an easy answer. Actors in a group were intentionally told to choose an incorrect answer. 75% of the time, the real participants in the study, would be influenced by the incorrect answers given by the actors.
Group think is dangerous. You are what you surround yourself with. So if we are surrounded by gossip, negativity and conflict, we will see the world in those terms
Our fears are more numerous than our dangerous and we suffer more in our imagination than in reality – Seneca.
Kevin O Leary – before he goes to sleep each night, he writes down three things he wants to do the next morning before he talks to anyone besides his family.
Multi-tasking and the dopamine hangover.
Multi-tasking releases dopamine in our bodies. This is an addiction pathway so we want to stimulate it more in order to get more dopamine. Too much dopamine however means that we don’t produce serotonin, the contentment chemical.
Story of Brian Acton
He worked at Yahoo for eleven years. Applied to Twitter for a job and was rejected. He tweeted about it and accepted that it ‘was ok as it would have been a long commute’. Then he gets rejected by Facebook. He Tweets, “It was a great opportunity to connect with fantastic people’. Ultimately, he ends up building Whatsapp and sold it to Facebook for $19bn. Express gratitude in life as you never know what will happen next.
Most common regrets of the dying
I wish I’d expressed my love to people I care about
I wish I hadn’t worked as much
I wish I’d taken more pleasure in life
I wish I’d done more for other people