Jay Shetty’s book “Think Like A Monk” really helped me in so many countless ways from identifying my personal values to understanding what passion and purpose is and it transformed the way I live.

As in, from trying mediation to getting away from ego and judgement and negativity to actually being able to be grateful. This is mind opening in so many levels for me. Anyways these are my notes/ lessons I learnt from the book “Think Like a Monk”

Knowing your personal value’s

One needs to know their values to make proper life decisions and make sure that they are moving towards things that they truly want. 

Letting go

To achieve this one needs to reflect on ones self. Clear through the mental and physical distraction to understand your values clearly

Do a self audit : Where do you spend most of your spare time? Where do you spend most of your money? 

Are these in alignment with your values? If not, you have some rethinking to do. 

  • Surround yourself with people who have the same values as you do. This is essential because you would be influenced by the people you surround yourself with and their values
  • Once you filter out the noise of opinions, expectations and obligations you would see the world through new eyes. 
  • Multiple studies shows that the way we relate to the world around us is contagious. Happiness and Depression spreads in your social circle
  • Are you spending more time with the people who share your values? 


  • Negativity in conversations, emotions and actions – Often springs from a threat to one of the three needs : a fear that bad things would happen, fear of not being loved, fear of being disrespected. 
  • Victim mindset : If we adopt the victim mindset, we are more likely to take a sense of entitlement and behave selfishly. 
  • Social circle importance again : We are Subconsiously wired to please others and more than that we are Subconsiously wired for conformity.So the more negativity that surrounds us, the more negative we become. 
  • Complaining/ Venting is contagious : Even though some people claim that they feel better after venting, research shows that they are more agressive post gripe. 
  • Negativity can make us more aggressive towards people and it shrinks the part of the brain responsible for resoning and memory. And it affects immune system! 
  • Avoid judgement at all cost : “Don’t judge someone with a different mindset and circumstances. Don’t expect anyone to be perfect. Don’t think you are perfect. “

Dealing with negativity:

  • Remove yourself emotionally from the situation
  • When someone hurts you, it’s because they are hurt. Their hurt is just spilling over
  • “If you can, help others, if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them”
  • Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety or possessions we cannot be free
  • 25/75 Principle : Spend 75% of your time with people who inspire you rather than bring you down. Don’t just spend time with the people you love, grow with them. 
  • In a monastery, the only competition allowed is to outstrip each other in showing love and respect. It’s not about who can do more. It’s about who can give more. 
  • The more we define ourselves in relation to people around us, the more lost we are. 
  • We think freedom means being able to say whatever we want. We think freedom means that we can pursue all our desires. Real freedom is letting go of things not wanted, the unchecked desires that lead us to unwanted ends. 
    • Negativity, envy, list  anger, pride will always interrupt you. The key to real freedom is self awareness. 
  • Keep a tally of all negative remarks you make over a course of a week. Make the number go down. The goal is zero. 
  • What we judge or envy or suspect in someone else can guide is to the darkness we have within ourselves. 
  • Remember, saying what ever we want  whenever we want, however we want is not freedom. Real freedom is not feeling the need to say these things. 
  • Judgement creates an illusion : that if you see well enough to judge, then you must be better, that if someone else is failing, then you must be moving forward. 
  • In English we have the words “empathy” And “compassion” To express our ability to feel the pain that others suffer but we don’t have such words for experiencing vicarious joy – joy on behalf of other people. Unselfish joy in the good fortune of others. 
  • Revenge is a mode of ignorance – You cannot fix yourself by breaking someone else. If anything it would cause more pain and emptiness. 
  • The pinnacle of forgiveness is to wish the person who caused you pain well. 
  • Negativity often rises from fear. 

Fear :

  • Fear does not prevent death. It prevents life 
    • Work through the fear until it’s not scary anymore. 
  • We need to develop a relationship with fear. Our brains are really good at dodging these uncomfortable questions. Go meditate in silence and ask yourseld what your fears are. Once you start getting answers, dig deeper to the root of the fears. 
  • My fear : Not being good enough. Fear of being humiliated and the fear of being a failure. Maybe that is projected as my need for workout and a cool social media profile
  • And this is more or less about how people perceive me. But my root fears influences decisions and we want our decisions to be based on our values. 

Dealing with fear:

  • While developing intimacy with our fear is essential, it’s also important to see fear as it’s own entity, separate from us. 
  • Fear is not us. It’s something that we are experiencing
  • Same goes to emotions. We tend to say “I am angry. I am sad. I am happy”. These emotions are something you are feeling. They are not you.

Attachment and Detachment:

  • We tend to get attached to and hold on to the material possessions, ideas of ourselves, standards of living that we think defines us and relationships
  • The monk mind practices detachment. We realize that everything from our houses to families is borrowed. This way these things won’t have power over us
  •  and not become sources of pain or fear. 
  • “Accept the temporary nature of everything in our lives and feel gratitude for the good fortune of getting to borrow them for a time”
  • It’s about understanding and accepting that all things are temporary, and that we can’t truly own or control anything, so that we can fully appreciate these things and they enhance our life rather than be a souve of griping and fear. 
  • Our fears are more numerous than our dangers and we suffer more in our imagination than reality. 
  • Focus on what you can control
  • Failures help you enjoy your success even better. Be grateful for the challenges and failures faced along the way. Try and look at it as “Maybe it’s a good thing”
  • What you run from only stays with you longer. Find what you are afraid of most and go live there. 
  • Fear motivates us. Sometimes it motivates us towards what we want and sometimes, if we aren’t careful, it limits us with what we think will keep us safe. 


  • There are 4 motivators
    • Fear
    • Desire
    • Duty : Motivated by gratitude, responsibility and desire to do the right thing
    • Love : Helping people cause we care for them
  • Fear : We are too scared and worried if we would fail. You won’t be efficient and you’d be mentally unwell
  • Desire :
    • “I think that everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of, so that they can see that it’s not the answer”
    • This motivator has an mindset that these external aquisitions and achievements would bring happiness. 
    • “As long as we keep attaching our happiness to external events of lives, which are ever changing, we’ll always be left waiting for it”
    • Our search is never for the thing but the feeling we think the thing would give us. 
    • We think a bigger house, new phone, a promotion would make us feel better but we find ourselves wanting more. 
    • Happiness and fulfilment comes only from mastering the mind and connecting with the soul and not from objects or attainments. 
  • Duty :
    • Happiness and joy doesn’t last. But having a purpose and finding meaning in life through that can give us satisfaction that lasts. 
    • “Money and mansions are not the only wealth. Hoard the wealth of spirit. Character is wealth : good conduct is wealth, and spiritual wisdom is wealth. 
    • Purpose and meaning, not suceess, lead to true contentment. 
    • When you act out of service and love, you won’t feel lost. You won’t feel empty because you aren’t working towards your own desires. 
    • When we live intentionally – with clear sense of why what we do matters – life has meaning and brings fulfilment. 
    • To live intentionally, we must dig to the deepest why behind the want. Don’t stop at the why we want something, but also who we are or need to be to get it, and whether being that person appeals to us. 
    • “External goals cannot fill internal voids”
  • We should all start defining ourselves by our intentions rather than our achievements or profession. 
    • So if we lose our job do we lose our identity? 
  • Create to be list along with your to do list. It’s important to live up to the values that drive our goals 
  • Satisfaction comes from believing in the value of what you do
  • With the right intention, to serve, we can feel meaning and purpose everyday. 
    • Living intentionally means stepping back from external goals, letting go of outward definition of success and looking within. 


  • In getting to where you want to be, meditation mag show you what you don’t wanna see 
    • As in the negativity and other negative values of yourself might be exposed in meditation. 
  • When you align with your breath, you learn to align with yourself through every emotion- calming, centering and destressing yourself
  • Whenever you are meditating and your mind wanders off, get it back to 
    • Calm
    • Balance
    • Ease
    • Stillness
    • Peace


  • Monks were told to see society as the organs of the body. No one organ was important than the other, all of them worked in concert, and the body needed them all. 
  • Dharma – is your calling and it’s a combination of your natural talent, skills and what the world needs and serving selflessly. 
  • When you spend your time and energy living “your calling”, you have the satisfaction of using your best abilities and doing something that matters to the world and is a certain route to fulfilment. 

Let go – indentify true values – identify deepest intentions – find passion – find your purpose (dharma) 

  • Rebuilding life with guiding values and deepest intentions. 
  • You feel passion when the process is pleasing and your execution is skillful And the response from others should be positive, showing your passion has a purpose 
  • Passion + Expertise + Usefullness = Purpose
  • You can’t be anything you want
  • But you can be everything you are (purpose) 
  • It’s better to do ones own dharma imperfectly than to do abothees perfectly. “your time is limited. Don’t waste it living someone else’s life. 
  • Think of your weaknesses as someone else dharma(purpose) and not as your failure. 
  • So instead of focusing on your weaknesses, lean on your strengths and look for ways to make it central in your life. 
  • Play hardest in your area of strength and you’ll achieve depth, meaning and satisfaction in your life. 
  • Look for opportunities to do what you love in th life you already have. You never know where it might lead
  • When you are satisfied in your dharma, you can, without envy or ego, appreciate others who are good at another skills

Four varnas:

  • Guide : compelled to learn and share knowledge – be a writer/teachee
  • Leader : Likes to influence and provide : manager, CEO
  • Creator : likes to make things happen
  • Maker : likes to see things built tangibly : coder or nurse
  • Invest in your strength and surround yourself with people who can fill the gap
  • Ask a close group of people with different mix of personalities and types : about the time you were extraordinary
    • Just to get a gist of your varnas
  • Go deeper when you say that you “like something”. if you like photography:
    • Do you want to document human struggles to inspire change? (Leader) 
    • Or do you love the technical aspects like lighting, focus, developing film? (Maker) 


  • Activities
    • Note down all the activities n day to day tasks that u do everyday
    • Did you enjoy the process? 
    • Did others enjoy the result? 
  • Our heads might try to convince us that we have made the best decision, but our true natures – our passion and purpose – isn’t in our heads, it’s in our hearts 
    • And heads often come in the way of passion and purpose in the form of self deceiving beliefs and fears. 
  • Instead of listening to our minds, pay attention to how an idea or an activity feels in our body. 
    • Alive, flow, comfort, consistency, positivity and growth. 
  • Once you discover your dharma, strive to play that role in every aspect of your life. 
  • Our dharmas evolve with us
    • Your deep routed personal values could
  • “Just like a red, blue or white lotus – born in water, grown in water, rising up above the waters – stands unsmeared by it, in the same way I- born in the world, growth in the world, having overcome the world – live unsmeared by the world”

Finding time:

  • Believe me, no matter how busy you are, you can make time. 
    • You can do a lot in just 10 minutes

Routine :

  • Morning routine
  • Everyday, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life and I am not going to waste it. 
  • Waking up early is something that Jay shetty highly recommends. Wake up early, stay off your phone and give your mind and body time and peace to start off the day without stress. 
  • T. I. M. E : Thankfulness, Insight, Meditation, Exercise
  • Evening routine:
  • Write down 3 things that you want to accomplish the next morning before talking with anyone other than family. Set the tone for the next day. 
  • The emotion you fall asleep with at night is most likely the emotion you’ll wake up with in the morning. 

Morning routine:

  • Imagine yourself to be woken up as you best self. Mentally, physically and spiritually. 
  • Set the intentions for the day. Focused,be of service, etc
  • Be grateful

Routines can be boring:

  • Routines root us
  • Creativity and spontaneity often comes from structure (routines) 
  • Pay attention and notice new things in your routine everyday. This can be seen as taking pleasure in the small things in life. 
  • Pay attention to your surroundings. Seeing is not the same as noticing. And learning to observe and notice rewires our brain to pay attention : that there’s something new to learn everyday. 
  • To walk down the same old path and find a new stone is to open your mind. 
  • It’s called mindfulness
  • Basically change small things about your routine everyday
  • To be enlightened, only means you embrace every little aspect of your life. Means you are mindful. The outside may look the same, but inside you are transformed

Location had energy:

  • One needs to figure out where they thrive the most and make sure they spend as much time there as possible 

Time has memory :

  • Doing th same task at the same time everyday makes the habit more easy and natural to do

Single tasking:

  • Single tasking is the only way to be present wholly in the moment.  Single tasking actually increases our ability to focus which most of us have problems with

Going all in:

  • Doing a single task for prolonged time gives you immersion : depth in your work. 
  • Not shifting tasks frequently is important because dopamine gets released alot and too much dopamine stops serotonin : the contentment chemical and so we feel exhausted at the end of the day and that’s cause of dopamine hangover
  • The ocean is full of treasures but if you swim in the surface, you won’t see them all – Immerse n focus : Dive deep into your dreams. 
  • You are both productive and you feel good after. 
  • You and your dream could use a romantic get away. 


  • When the five senses and the mind are stilled, when the reasoning intellect rests in silence, then begins the highest path
  • Test your ability to tolerate external frustrations and difficulties. Try to reduce our minds’ reactive tendencies. Training your mind to be in control and focus on our dharma
  • Every choice in life is a battle between two wolves inside of us. One represents anger, envy, greed, fear, lies, insecurity and ego. The other represents peace, love, compassion, kindness, humility and positivity. 
    • Who wins? 
    • The one who feeds
    • How do we feed them? 
    • By where we focus our energy and attention. 
  • Failing to conquer our minds can make it our worst enemy. Our mind can harm us and make decisions that’s completely against our values. 
  • When we procrastinate there is a conflict between the should self : what u feel you should do and the want self : what we actually want to do in the moment
  • We are not our minds. 

Parent and the child:

  • First step to developing a relationship with your mind is to visualize it as a separate entity. 
  • We often have competing voices in our heads and the intellect has to decide the best thing to do at the moment. 
  • We got two minds. Monkey mind and the adult monk mind. Monk mind needs to be trained and there must a friendly relationship with the monk and the monkey mindmind ( seeks instant gratification) 
  • Monkey mind can be child like and desire driven and needs supervision. 

Chariot of mind :

  • Imagine a chariot pulled by horses. These horses are our senses feeding us feedbacks about what we should do. 
  • Untrained mind doesn’t have a charioteer. It just listens to the immediate needs : instant gratification
  • The chariot pulls us in the direction of impulsivity, passion and pleasure. 
  • Every time you have a physical, mental, or emotional urge or reaction to do something : Think about what’s the meaning behind that thought
    • Our goal is to find the meaning behind a thought. That’s what let’s us let go. 
  • There needs to be a collaboration between monkey mind and adult mind : a friendly relationship so the internal battles become easier to handle. 
  • For that we need to understand the reactive patterns of the mind : subconscious

Stubborn Subconscious:

  • Insanity is doing the same thing again and again, expecting different results”
  • Change begins with the words in your head. 
  • We miss so much on operating on default mode. 
  • Self defeating thoughts: Our past challenges and heartbreaks exist within us in some way : often in self defeating thoughts
    • And the best way to get over that is by talking back to it. 
    • Talking to oneself clarifies thoughts – and gets a firm decision. 
  • Reframe self criticism : We often look for the worst in ourselves. Intead identify the ways in which you are making progress and growing. 
    • You’ll see, feel and appreciate what you do. 
  • Concern ratings : Rate your concerns on a scale of one to 10 and you would know how important something is. And if it is worth feeling bad over. 
  • Writing thoughts while panicking : It is said that writing our thoughts down when we are panicking or when we had a traumatic experience : Can help with getting a better perspective and hence helps healing
  • Phrases to control monkey mind: Whenever your mind is going uncontrollably use this
    • Repeat ” my mind is my friend” And “I know you feel like u can’t handle this but you are strong and you can do it”
  • Do unto others what you would have them do unto you
  • Treat yourself with the same love and respect you want to show otherw
  • Live in the moment : Don’t waste your time too much on the regrets of the past and the worries of the future. Be here now. 
  • Detachment is the only way that we can get true control over our minds
    • When you detach yourself from your earthly desires, you can observe your mind from a distance in order to see more clearly
    • To not react emotionally
    • Stepping away from fear
    • To get every form of self awareness
  • Detachment is not that you own nothing. It’s that nothing owns you. 
  • Greatest detachment is being close to everything and not letting it consume or own you
    • It’s not that you don’t care by detachment. 
    • If anything we appreciate it more. That we are on borrowed time. That we own nothing. 

Detachment techniques:

This is all to overcome the demands of our senses

  • Monks do extreme stuff like
    • Travelling with no shelter, food or money
  • We can try this: to know who we are without these
    • Full day fasting ( detaching from body’s needs) 
    • One month of not talking ( detaching from external world) 
      • Travel inwards
  • These austerities (experiments) helps you not just to disconnect from your desires but also from the ideas that limits you : Will also make your intellectual stronger. 
  • Things you can try : 
    • Giving up TV, Netflix
    • Phone
    • Alcohol, smoke, sweets
    • Stay away from gossip comparison and complaining. 
    • Meditating in cold n heat or for hours. 
  • Process
    • Spot the things u are attached to
    • Analyse it first. Do you want to reduce it, eliminate it, see how you think it change if you are away from it for a week or a month
    • Detach 
    • Swap in a new behavior : Could be anything. Behaviors that match your personality. Or maybe work on your to-do list
    • Look for new behaviors that helps you get the same effect as the detached ones
  • Just like how we accept that our bodies need sleep, brushing, cleaning and eating everyday
    • Our minds require nurturing too. Be patient. Take care of it. 


Ego is a mask :

  • Insecurities make is want to convince ourselves and others that we are special, so we contrive a dishonest version of ourselves in order to appear more knowledgavle, more accomplished, more confident. 
  • Ego wants more → It wants to get attention for how we look, a big reaction, praise. It finds confidence and joy in how we look
  • “If you are satisfied with who you are, you do not need to prove your worth to anyone else”
  • “You are who you are when no one is watching”
  • The ego craves recognition, acknowledgment, praise, to put others down, to raise us up
  • The ego doesn’t want to be better. It wants to be seen as better. 

Ego false hierarchies:

  • It goes to great lengths to put other people down : If others are less than we are, then we must be special
  • When success goes to our heads, we forget that everyone is equal. No matter who you are, or what you’ve achieved, remember nobody deserves a better seat at the theater of life
    • The arrogant ego desires respect, whereas the humble worker inspires respect. 

Judgement :

  • We attempt to elevate ourselves by judging others. 
  • Sometimes we project : Am I finding faults in order to distract myself others from my own insecurities



Written by Sai Subramaniam

Sai has over 4 years experience writing about mental health and productivity. He shares his thoughts about love, life and business in this blog. His goal is to help people become the best version of themselves and is guided by experts in the psychology and mental health field to help educate everyone about lifestyle and productivity

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