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The goal of Monck thinking is a life free of ego and the anxiety, anger and bitterness. It's a life free of baggage. And the way I see it, adopting the monk mindset isn't just possible. It's necessary in order to find that calm stillness and peace we so desperately want for ourselves and in our lives. Hey, everyone, welcome back to you on purpose, it is getting so close, I am so excited if you know you know what I'm talking about, if you don't know where have you been?
You're going to find out on this podcast. So people often ask me how they can cultivate more focus, how they can find inner purpose and how they can experience more meaning and less anxiety in their lives.
As you know in my work, I love to incorporate the latest brain research and neuroscience, along with advice from leaders in their respective fields business leaders, musicians, entrepreneurs, financial predictors and philanthropists. And throughout those interviews, you've heard me talk a bit about my own life, including some of my experiences living and training as a monk. But now, for the first time, I'm going to take you even deeper. If you've been following me for some time, you know that my first ever book, without a doubt, the most exciting launch of my life, think like a monk, train your mind for peace and purpose.
Every day comes out in just a few days on September eight. So in line with the release of being like a monk, I'm going to take you on a journey into the world of monks and show you how your life can change.
If you learn to think like a monk and remember this, you don't have to live like a monk to think like a monk. I'm not expecting any of you to start wearing robes, to shave your head, to move across country or whatever it may be, or to leave your jobs and live your lives. I want to help you access that stillness, that calm, that clarity from exactly where you are right now. Now, you may say, gee, can I really learn all that much from monks?
And here's my response to that. According to research data reported in the Telegraph, only three in ten people surveyed feel happy and satisfied with their lives, just three in ten. Meanwhile, the man dubbed by brain researchers as the world's happiest man is someone named Matthieu Ricard. And guess what? He's a monk. If you want to dominate on the basketball court, you'd look to someone like Michael Jordan or on the football pitch to someone like Cristiano Ronaldo.
Right. If you want to learn more about innovation, you look to people like Elon Musk or Sir Richard Branson. If you want to up your finance game, you look to Warren Buffett or maybe Suze Orman. If you want to be a captivating writer, you might look to people like Maya Angelou. That makes sense, right? But when you're interested in learning something or growing a skill set, you look to who is the best at those things?
Well, if you want to train your mind for peace, calm and purpose, if you want to master your mind, as so many of you have told me you do, your greatest teachers will be Monks'.
The goal of Monck thinking is a life free of ego and the anxiety, anger and bitterness. It's a life free of baggage. And the way I see it, adopting the monk mindset isn't just possible. It's necessary in order to find that calm stillness and peace we so desperately want for ourselves and in our lives.
Now, I want to be clear in the podcast. I'll be touching on principles and ideas from things like a monk, my book. But I'm not going to spoil the book for you. OK, you can think of these next few episodes of the podcast as an extension of what's in the book. The other thing is that if you ever worked on a book, you know that you can never include everything you'd like to see here on the podcast. I'll get to share some of my favorite stories and research that didn't make it into the book.
To start off this journey today, I'm going to share with you four reasons to learn to think like a monk. I'm going to talk about four ways that learning to think like a monk will increase the quality of your life and your life satisfaction in case you still doubted me. Now, there are many more reasons than that, but I'm just going to focus on for today. So let's jump in now. When I was a monk and I call myself a former monk now because I'm married, though, I still keep up with many of the practices.
But when I was living as a monk, I studied with Hindu monks. These monks use teachings called the Vedas and the Bulgogi to as their foundational text. The title is from the Sanskrit word Vayda, meaning knowledge. One of the things I find fascinating about this text is that even though these teachings are thousands of years old, they are still incredibly relevant today. People throughout history and into the present day have. So wisdom from monks, luminaries in science, philosophy, art and on credit, the Bhagavad Gita, for example, as being highly influential on their lives and work, is a story you probably haven't heard.
I'm sure you probably know of the inventor, Nikola Tesla. And if you don't just you know, the Tesla company is named after him. And also there's a great movie called The Current Wars, which shows the competition between him and Edison. But you probably wouldn't associate him with Moncks. Well, when in his late 30s, Tesla was introduced to a Hindu monk named Swami Vivekananda, who is very well known in his own right. The two met in New York backstage at a play, and as they got talking, they realized they had a lot in common.
For his part, Tesla had all of these grand ideas about the nature of physics and listening to Vivekananda help to validate and clarify some of these early concepts. Tesla realized while listening to Vivek Anand that many of the ideas he was formulating were already expressed in the vadis. Tesla ended up attending several of Swami Vivekananda lectures in the States and from him learned certain ideas about energy, matter and time, which in Sanskrit Vivekananda described as Proner, Akashat and Copas.
The two stayed in touch for years, and Tesla even began to use Sanskrit terminology when describing some of his work. And some say that Vedic concepts led Tesla to the idea of transmit electrical power wirelessly through what became the Tesla coil transformer. So, you know, maybe we actually have the radios to thank for Wi-Fi. Maybe, just maybe throughout the next few weeks, I'll share more stories about current and historic figures who've learned from Monks'. But I wanted to share just one more today.
Many of you are probably familiar with Monk Tech, not Horn with a Buddhist monk and spiritual leader. In nineteen sixty seven, Tichnor Hahn was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by none other than Martin Luther King Jr., who in his nominating letter wrote, I do not personally know of anyone more worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize than this gentle Buddhist monk from Vietnam. But not everyone knows that the two are actually friends. In fact, in the same year, King made a landmark speech titled Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam.
It was shocking. Even some of the king's advisors begged him not to take a stand against the war, fearing it would negatively impact his civil rights work in the US. Yet King became a vocal critic of the war, and it was in large part because of his relationship with the monk Tichnor Hun, that he began to think this way. Pretty amazing.
As I said, we'll get into more stories about monks and well-known historical figures on future episodes. Right now, I want to get to the four reasons you want to learn to think like a monk and how it would transform your life. Now, one of the topics you've heard me talk about before and talk to experts about is focus. How do we create more focus to be more effective and impactful in our lives? Well, monks are masters of focus.
And if you learn the skill, you'll actually be able to overcome your procrastination, your overthinking, and all of those challenges that we face in really creating the life that we want. Now, running a business and being an entrepreneur is one of the most fulfilling things in the world. And I wake up every morning and meditate on how grateful I am to do what I do. But with all the great things come great responsibility, as we know. And one of those is finding the right candidate for a position, especially during these times where we have to be extremely careful with all social interactions, but with all great things comes a lot of responsibility, as we know.
And one of those is finding the right candidate. And right now, when you can't interview face to face and be in someone's presence, it takes a lot more challenging skill. It's been a challenge for me to fill certain roles because of the demands were put on my time. But after using ZIP recruiter within a few weeks, I had my position filled and I couldn't be happier. Let them do the same for your business. Monica Starks could relate to how I felt she needed to hire for a pivotal role at her construction company GS group, but was having a tough time finding the right person.
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From amongst perspective, the greatest power is self-control. To train the mind and energy for total focus. Monks' cultivate the ability to be detached and undeterred by external ups and downs. They're able to navigate anything that seems tough, challenging or even fun without being too excited by pleasure or too depressed by pain. Check this out. A team of researchers once bought an EEG machine which measures electrical impulses in the brain to a Japanese meditation hall and measured Monk's brain activity.
While they were meditating, the researchers wanted to see how good the monks were at staying focused. So they played a series of repetitive sounds and told the monks to stay focused on them. For the most advanced meditators in the group. Their brain responded just as strongly the first time they had the sound as the twentieth time. The reason that's remarkable is that our brains reflexively turn down the volume on repeated input. We start to ignore it. To help you understand that, I just need to say two words.
Car alarm, right? Especially in urban areas, car alarms are so ubiquitous that we just ignore them most of the time.
But when we train our minds like those monks, we can build the ability to stay focused on whatever we want, regardless of distractions is another amazing example of focus.
Tibetan Jinpa is a former monk who used to work as the Dalai Lama's primary English language translator. I translate his work is impressive to begin with, but Jinpa has been known to be able to seamlessly translate up to 15 minutes worth of speech at a time. Imagine that for a second. Someone talks for 15 minutes and you not only have to remember what they said, you have to translate it. Jinpa credits his incredible feats of memory to his monk training, where he memorized difficult texts written in archaic languages.
But don't worry, you don't have to be among to develop monk like focus goes. Some research shows that even after just a few weeks of meditation or in some cases, a single session of brains can start to change. So if you'd like to learn to focus more so you can achieve your goals, work more productively or be more present, you want to learn to think like a monk. I'm going to get into some details about how to do that in the weeks to come.
I'll get a second reason to learn to think like a monk is that monks, a masters of self-awareness, a Sabin's author, Yuval Noah Harari, said on this show, actually. So if you missed that episode, go back and catch it. It was great. As Yuval Harari said, many of the new technologies that are out there enable corporations and governments to essentially hack our brains and manipulate us with marketing. He warned that if you don't feel you have the time to get to know yourself, to uncover your true desires and motivations, these external companies do.
And as Harare's said, if they get to know you a little better than you know yourself, Gameover, they can manipulate and control you and you will not even realize it. Now, none of us want to be at the mercy of marketers or corporations, right? Nor do we want to be at the mercy of what others think of us. And yet that's how so many of us feel. So many of us don't feel that we truly know who we are and what matters to us.
And that's something especially powerful. We can learn from Monks' how to connect with our true selves and our values. One of the things I learned in my training is to look at my conditioning, to uncover my beliefs and where they came from so that I could discover the real me. We're heavily influenced by projections, but those we have for ourselves and those others put on us. Research by social psychologist Claude Steele and his team, which is described in his book Whistling Vivaldi, focused on something called stereotype threat.
That's the fear that you might do something that could reinforce a negative stereotype about a group your partner.
The researchers conducted a series of studies where they took Stanford undergrads of mixed races and gave them standardized tests only they told some of the black test takers that the test measured intelligence. Those students consistently performed worse on the test than all other students, including other black students who had not told the test measured intelligence that did similar studies with women taking advanced. As in math, the researchers told one group that men and women tend to score differently on the test. Those women did worse on the test in this phenomenon of stereotype threat when we were aware of a negative projection on a group where a part of no matter how untrue it is in this case, a very untrue stereotype that black people are not as smart or equally untrue, that women are not as good as in math.
It messes up our performance. We're afraid to confirm that negative projection or that stereotype to counteract others projections. Monks cultivate a deep relationship with ourselves, and we take time to determine our values, what's important to us and what we want in life. This helps to insulate us against others projections. I mean, you wouldn't imagine the Dalai Lama losing sleep over what others think of him, right?
How many likes you got on social media? When we learn to think like a monk, instead of mindlessly absorbing others projections, we may get a project to learn who we are to become self-aware. And again, I'm going to give you some details about just how we do that in the weeks to come.
And of course, in the book, reason number three, to learn to think like a monk is that monks are masters of compassion.
I've had so many people tell me, GAO, I want to be more compassionate and understanding towards myself and others. But it's so hard sometimes and I get it. And that's something else we can learn from monks. And that is really what the world is crying out for right now. Isn't the world crying out for more compassion, more love, more understanding?
Here's some brain research to back that up. Tania Singer and her colleagues scanned the brains of experienced monks who'd practice loving kindness meditation. When the monks were shown pictures that depicted immense suffering, they were not as triggered as normal people. It was easier for the monks to generate and maintain feelings of warmth and loving kindness. In spite of the images, Singer refers to these monks as expert completionist. But maybe if, like, compassion is incompatible with being successful in the everyday world or in your work.
I once asked RadNet Swami, a monk who's been among for around 40 years now and is also one of my teachers, how we can balance our spirituality with our desire for success, he said. We can still work hard to succeed, but not with arrogance, greed and fear. The foundation of what we do can be compassion.
You know, I talk a lot in this podcast about finding your passion. Swami's response to that question showed me that in the way we focused on finding our passion projects, we should also focus on finding our compassion projects. Having greater compassion for others as well as ourselves helps us to be more understanding and forgiving. It helps us stay more present and helps us manage difficult situations more easily. Research shows that those who practice compassion are better at dealing with difficult circumstances instead of falling apart under pressure.
So in the weeks to come will also be focusing on building those compassion muscles.
I know you've been hearing the term New Normal a lot recently. I don't really see it as a new normal, just another transition in our paths. Remembering everything is temporary. One of my favorite sayings is this, too shall pass. I like to see the benefits of this transition period, for starters, not having to commute as much and just getting the chance to be present at home. One of the things I miss the most would, of course, be being able to go to the gym and use all the equipment that this is why I'm so excited to let you know how I feel, this void.
I just recently got an Echelon bike, and I have to say it's one of the greatest investments you can make. Not only is the bike affordable, but it's extremely premium and durable. It was delivered straight to my home in beautiful packaging and was super fun and easy to put together. I not only see as a great investment for my health, but my peace of mind. Whenever I feel myself a bit tense or losing focus, I hop on my echelon bike and within 10 minutes I'm back in the state I want to be in.
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OK, the fourth and last reason that you want to learn to think like a monk is that monks are masters of mindfulness. Mindfulness is kind of a buzzword right now, and people are learning what monks have known for thousands of years, that mindfulness dramatically increases the quality of your life.
In fact, it actually helps you be more focused, self-aware and compassionate. In addition to helping us manage fear and anxiety as a young boy, Buddhist monk Meneer Rinpoche, in spite of a happy family life, began to suffer regular bouts of anxiety and panic attacks.
He says panic followed me like a shadow. His father, a meditation instructor, taught him techniques to try and deal with his fear. But nothing worked because, as Minear says, he hated to meditate. Maybe that sounds familiar. When Mineau was 13, he asked the head of the local monastery if he could join a tree, a retreat that was about to start during the retreat. He spent most of his time in his room, perched on a small box in meditation, but his panic only got worse.
Finally, he decided to try flipping the script and instead of allowing panic to be his boss or his enemy, he would try to befriend it. As he says. Now, if you totally transform your panic into your best friend, then you can transform all your problems into your friends and everything becomes support for your happiness. And mindfulness helped him do that. I learned something similar in my training when it came to dealing with fear about befriending fear. And I talked about that in the book.
And I now, you know, might be thinking, gee, that's great about the monk, but I don't want to become a monk. So how can mindfulness and presence help me? Well, what's the polar opposite of a monk? You think it was a soldier, right? But listen to this then. King is a former US Army sergeant who is deployed to the frontlines of Iraq as the leader of a psychological operations team when he returned home.
Like many service members, King struggled to reintegrate into civilian life. King began to struggle with chronic pain in his back, along with racing towards an insomnia. Soon he was having five or more drinks at a time and downing Tylenol PM just to get to sleep. Then, during a chance encounter at the grocery store, a friend suggested mindfulness. He attended his first class a week later, using mindfulness and breath techniques. The same ones we practice as monks.
King began to feel a sense of perspective, security and even contentment that helped him deal with the traumatic memories he had of his deployment. As King says in his own words, the military teaches you to armor up to prepare your mind for battle. But when you come home, they don't teach you to on the down. His meditation experience led King to develop a set of mental and physical practices to help veterans like him. He created an organization called On the Down that helps veterans, as he says, demobilise with mindfulness.
Incidentally, the US military is now also encouraging mindfulness practice to help with post-traumatic stress.
Because it was I wanted to leave you with at least one practical piece of advice today, something you can do to start to think like a monk. And it relates to mindfulness among your rimpoche. And as I learned, and that is to acknowledge the anxiety or your fear as a friend, it's a common misconception that monks don't experience feelings, that we suppress them. In fact, we do the opposite. We acknowledge all of our feelings. We just don't let them control us.
So when it comes to fear or anxiety, we say, I see you, my fear when I see you, my anxiety, and we actually welcome these uncomfortable feelings as friends. Try that next time you feel fear or anxiety, because these can be important messages. If you acknowledge them and even invite them to tell you why they're showing up, you can start to diffuse them, because when we avoid something, it tends to magnify. So that's one basic Hmong practice I wanted to share today.
There are so many more in the book and those are for reasons you want to learn to think like a monk. And I hope now you're even more excited about taking this journey with me over the next few weeks. What I'd love for you to do is go and grab a copy of the book from Think Like a Monk Book Dotcom or any other website. Come and join me. I'm going to be leading a life book club every single day on Instagram and Facebook, starting very, very soon.
Don't miss out on that. And we'll be diving into all kinds of incredible stories, wisdom and, of course, science that you can apply to living with greater peace and purpose every day. Thank you so much for listening. I hope you enjoyed this episode. Share it with everyone that you possibly can, and I can't wait for you to read the book.
Thank you so much.