With tens of millions of followers and his videos having been viewed well over a billion times, this monk turned entrepreneur has succeeded in motivating and inspiring countless people through his videos
When British-Indian podcaster, author and life coach Jay Shetty conducted an Instagram poll back in 2018 asking if his videos had had a positive impact on the lives of viewers, 97 per cent of respondents said that they had.
In the viral world today, this former monk and co-founder of company Same Tea has a clever way of getting his message across in such a way that wisdom goes viral.
Here we take a deeper look into the story of this man who has made inspiration go viral and continues to awaken people with his inspirational videos on a daily basis. Some of his social media videos have helped people get over a bad relationship, while others have helped dealing with conflicts related to work conflicts.
MONK TURNED ENTREPRENEUR
Shetty had a pretty normal UK urban life growing up in Barnet, North London… or at least until he grew up to the world of parents’ expectations. “Parental pressure took over and out came the quintessential ambitious dream of every Indian parent: for their child to be a doctor or an engineer,” Jay Shetty said. But he had his own dreams, and they prompted him to follow the path of philosophy and behavioural studies. It was while studying at business school that Shetty found himself inspired by entrepreneurs and CEOs. “But there was one incident that changed it all – when a monk came to speak at my University. At 22, I decided to be a monk,” said Shetty.
Having always been fascinated by behavioural science and ancient wisdom, Shetty, who spent every other summer in India growing up, decided to strike a balance between old books and new science. He spent his time as a monk studying behavioural science and learning more about the human mind. And in 2016 he finally found that balance. He turned to online videos and found a ray of hope in the dark alleys of the web. “I wanted to build a platform that enables people to have healthy discussions and build meaningful conversations.” And today he has developed his practises to become one of the most renowned names on the web. “People would watch my videos and forward them on to their friends via WhatsApp. That would lead to discussions, to someone else who felt the same way receiving the chance to share their thoughts,” he said.
I wanted to build a platform that enables people to have healthy discussions and build meaningful conversations
Astonishingly, he hit two billion views in 18 months. “The response was incredible and I got thousands of messages. Whether the issue was suicide or divorce, people were able to find a positive way out of difficult situations. And that’s where my joy and passion for doing these videos was born,” he said.
CONTENT CREATION PROCESS
You are bound to come across Shetty’s videos when scrolling through Facebook or Instagram and will almost certainly find yourself unable to scroll on before checking them out. Why? His videos are relatable to everyone as they are inspired by people. His talks are based on scientific study. Having spent a decade studying behavioural science, he was able to connect with people. “It wasn’t just that. When I was speaking to people about their issues, something would just click and I would know that I have to talk about it. My videos often aren’t scripted and are based on real life experiences,” says Jay.
He has today achieved remarkable success, but not many believed in his path initially. He has always received the full support of his parents, but his decision to become a Vedic monk brought questions from many – from his Grandma to his aunts, who believed he was wasting his life. “Not many people thought it would work, but I have managed to carve out my own journey,” insists Jay.
SUCCESS TO LEARN FROM
But even today he can’t explain his success as being the result of a well-devised plan. “I never thought of it as a business plan. That’s the trick – just start with the content and if it works for people, evolve it into a business. For me, the plan was never to be rich or to have this as a full-time job. When I began, the idea was to just start,” he admits. However, he nonetheless has a few words of advice for other entrepreneurs. “The more you go to the depth of the problem you are trying to solve, the higher your company will grow,” he said.
We all have interesting ideas, but Jay believes it is good execution that defines success. “Good ideas are worth a million dollars, but it all depends on the implementation. You need to have the resilience and desire to succeed,” he said.
The more you go to the depth of the problem you are trying to solve, the higher your company will grow
As entrepreneurs embark on their journey, they often draw inspiration from billionaire entrepreneurs, but Jay thinks we should redefine the word billionaire. “Let it not be defined by a man’s material riches, but rather by how they have each impacted a billion lives,” he said.
He calls on budding entrepreneurs to recognise that everyone has failed; every big idea has been rejected by someone. “Years of hard work are required for an idea to succeed. You need to have resilience and grit, to care about the idea’s sincerity. Move with your heart, but monetise with your head,” says Jay, who knows that this is true from personal experience, having been rejected by 10 media companies.
When he’s not inspiring the world with his podcasts, Jay gives talks at major companies – including the like of Google and Microsoft – and interviews top personalities like Russell Brand… His inspiration has seemingly impacted everyone, but he’s not stopping there. He now plans to work on educational courses and stage more live events and digital shows, as well as authoring books that can serve to inspire yet more people.