The Book Talk #19 – Think Like a Monk

6 min read…

Hey, welcome to the 19th episode of our book series – The Book Talk. If it’s your first time here, check our other posts. In this episode, we’ll discuss Think like a monk by Jay Shetty.

“A layperson who is consciously aiming to be continuously alive in the Now is a monk.”

Brother David Steindl-Rast, gratefulness.org

Jay Shetty is a British author, former monk, and a purpose coach. It is not very uncommon to see his motivational videos on social media platforms. He also hosts a podcast, the purpose of which is to make wisdom go viral.

Monks can withstand temptations, quiet the ego, refrain from criticizing, deal with pain, and build lives of purpose and meaning.

However, monks weren’t born monks, they chose to transform themselves. So, why shouldn’t we learn from the calmest, happiest, and the most purposeful people on earth?

The core objective of the book is to teach the monk way of living which enables you to tackle life’s every challenge by asking – How would a monk think about this? Here are the 5 ideologies that I liked the most.

1. Finding your identity

The first step on the monk journey is to self-reflect, clear away distractions, and find the real “you” in you. We often try to live up to what we think others think of us, even at the expense of our values. The TV shows we watch, the music we hear, the friends we choose, and the books we read – everything shapes us in some way. Your newsfeed feeds your mind.

So, audit your life – your time, media, and money. Spend a week and reflect how you manage your time, what you spend on, and what media you follow. I installed YourHour on my phone to limit my usage and block apps after a cut-off limit.

2. Four levels of forgiveness

If someone inflicts pain upon us, we often feel anger. We would immediately seek revenge. But, most times, revenge is an act of ignorance. Forgiving is not a binary act – you either forgive someone or not. It has multiple levels.

Courtesy: Think like a Monk

Use these levels to progress at your own pace, and try to aim for transformational forgiveness wherever possible.

3. Detachment does not mean indifference

We are often advised to practice detachment. But seeing things, people, and experiences as temporary or seeing them from a distance does not diminish our ability to enjoy life.

When you rent a luxury car or a BNB for a week, you know it is not permanently yours. So, for that duration, you enjoy it even more. You will be grateful because it is not something that you always get to do. You won’t be sitting there dreading your departure in a week.

When we acknowledge that all of our blessings are like a fancy rental car or a beautiful Airbnb, we are free to enjoy them without living in constant fear of losing them. We are all the lucky vacationers enjoying our stay in Hotel Earth.

– Jay Shetty

4. Breaking from the ego cage of I, me, and mine

Real ego is essential, it makes us aware and awake to reality. But, the false ego is an identity we create to portray ourselves as not the way we truly are but the way we want the world to see us. We put enormous effort into polishing the appearance of the self we present to the world.

You are who you are when no one is watching.

The false ego craves acknowledgement and praise. It doesn’t want to be better; it just wants to be seen as better. When we pretend to be who we are not, we end up looking worse than we truly are. Always keep an eye on your ego.

The best way to detach from your ego is to practice humility. You are not your success or failure. When you are complimented or blamed, do not lap it up or reject it. Be gracious at the moment and thank the people who helped you in the process. Thanking them keeps you humble.

5. Measuring in terms of energy; not time or money

When it comes to the energy we expend and receive in relationships, the focus is quality, not quantity. Nobody wants to sit with you at a dinner table while you’re on the phone. This is where we confuse time and energy. You would stay there for two hours but only give your family 10 minutes of focused attention.

So, think in terms of energy management and not time/money management. Give your full attention to the person you are talking to. Shut off your phone, be curious and ask questions. Listen to understand, not just to respond.


To find our way through life, you must reach beyond your comfort zones. Disable your autopilot. Train your mind to observes what influences you, detach from false beliefs, and continually look for what motivates you and serves others. When in doubt, ask – What would a monk do at this moment?


If you like this book, purchase it on Amazon now! US: Amazon.com | UK: Amazon.co.uk

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