Former monk, world renowned author and award winning podcast host Jay Shetty has brought ancient wisdom to more than 25 million fans. Jay is a lifelong student of change and your guide to navigating it successfully. Along with renowned experts Katy Milkman, Maya Shankar, and David Kessler, Jay will teach you practices and methods you can use when change is difficult and overwhelming.
Why change is difficult
We find change difficult because we struggle to accept it. We can see it happening but we are not ready to go with the flow hence we resist it.
A man is trapped on one side of a fast-flowing river. There is great danger and uncertainty where he stands, and on the far side of the river, there is safety. But there is no bridge or ferry for crossing. So the man gathers logs, leaves, twigs, and vines, and is able to fashion a raft, sturdy enough to carry him to the other shore. By lying on the raft and using his arms to paddle, he crosses the river to safety. The Buddha then asks the listeners a question: “What would you think if the man, having crossed over the river, then said to himself, ‘Oh, this raft has served me so well, I should strap it on to my back and carry it over land now?’” The monks replied that it would not be very sensible to cling to the raft in such a way. The Buddha continues: “What if he lay the raft down gratefully, thinking that this raft has served him well, but is no longer of use and can thus be laid down upon the shore?” The monks replied that this would be the proper attitude. The Buddha concluded by saying, “So it is with my teachings, which are like a raft, and are for crossing over with — not for seizing hold of.”
Moral of the story
If we try to resist change and hold on to the way things have always been, we become the person carrying the raft that gets stuck in the trees. But If we find the courage and confidence to put down what got us here, knowing that it won’t get us there; we may be able to walk through freely.
What are the rafts you’re holding onto that no longer serves you?
Meet the Experts: Dr. Katy Milkman
What does modern science have to say about navigating change
Katy Milkman is the James G. Dinan Professor at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, host of Charles Schwab’s popular behavioral economics podcast Choiceology, and the former president of the International Society for Judgment and Decision Making.
She is the author of the international bestselling book How to Change: The Science of Getting From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, which was named one of the eight best books for healthy living in 2021 by the New York Times.
- How is it that people make decisions and judgments and how can we make people make better judgments?
Why We resist change?
We are efficient machines – we don’t have to think every morning how to find toothpaste, If we want to take the part of least resistance, shortcuts do not lead to change.
We are wired to be present bias, which is the focus on what I can get right here and right now and overweighing that to long-term rewards. Present bias is not well suited to change.
The flip side of being impulsive is that we procastinate. Why do today what I can do tomorrow instead.
The Planning Fallacy
Focusing on our plans while underestimating how long it would be to achieve our objectives. The only way we can succeed is by forecasting what can go wrong and planning for it.
Fresh starts encourage change successfully.
Using Fresh Starts to Nudge Increased Retirement Savings By: John Beshears, Hengchen Dai, Katherine L. Milkman and Shlomo Benartzi
We conducted a field experiment to study the effect of framing future moments in time as new beginnings (or “fresh starts”). University employees (N=6,082) received mailings with an opportunity to choose between increasing their contributions to a savings plan immediately or at a specified future time point. Framing the future time point in relation to a fresh start date (e.g., the recipient’s birthday, the first day of spring) increased the likelihood that the mailing recipient chose to increase contributions at that future time point without decreasing their likelihood of increasing contributions immediately. Overall, fresh start framing increased retirement plan contributions in the eight months following the mailing.
The way we live life is as if we are characters in a book and we are living a new chapter everyday.
Katherine was a serious and competitive tennis player as a child. We somehow think that habit building should be about perfection and routinisation. Life doesn’t deliver on your sweet spots, life delivers a mess.
If you want to deliver resilient habits, you need to think intentionally about the conditions in which to develop the habits so that it is in autopilot and resilient.
Barriers to change: Procastination, Negative emotions, Force of Habits
How to make better Decisions
Vedic philosophy is the set of Indian philosophical systems developing alongside the religion of Hinduism and emerging in the Iron and Classical periods, which consists of six orthodox schools of thought (shad-darśana): Samkhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Mimamsa and Vedanta.
Questions Jay asked himself when he was contemplating starting his foray into the media space with his teachings
- Will I regret it if I don’t try?
- Will I regret it if I do try?
Regrets of the dying
People regret what they did not do as opposed to what they did do. We regret things we didn’t try, say, explore and changes that we didn’t make.
Change is not Binary.
We make change look binary and we make it look like one big decision. We spend so much time reflecting and introspecting.
The Five Stages of Change
Stage One: Learn
Lets say you want to change your career. You are not feeling fulfilled in the job and you are thinking of a career change.The first thing to do is to learn what you don’t like about your job. After determining what you don’t like explore things that you are curious about, and passionate about, that you want to do it in your spare time.
It is the phase where you take time to explore and get curious of what other opportunities would look like without the risk or without the change. Internship, apprenticeship, job shadowing someone in another career, having a coffee chat with someone you admire.
After experiment, you can now determine if it is something you want to be engaged in for the long run by actually performing the task.
There is always struggle in any new pursuit. When going through all the stages of change, struggle should be expected as part of the process. Your goal is to find way to enjoy the struggle.
This is when things are moving your way and there is momentum. The biggest mistake in the thriving stage is thinking that it is going to last forever. The moment you get to thrive, you need to start learning again.
How to Overcome Uncertainty
How to Overcome Uncertainty
Fear can show up as anxiety, avoidance, and stress. Shorten the distance between the fear you feel and the potential of the growth that exists. One of the ways that fear keeps us trapped is that it forces us to focus on all the symptoms and everything that is a distraction rather than the main root cause.
Our minds can either elevate us or pull us down. Today we all struggle with overthinking, procrastination, and anxiety as a result of indulging the monkey mind. The monkey mind switches aimlessly from thought to thought, challenge to challenge, without really solving anything. But we can elevate to the monk mindset by digging down to the root of what we want and creating actionable steps for growth. The monk mindset lifts us out of confusion and distraction and helps us find clarity, meaning, and direction.
The Monk Mind
“Thinking like a monk” posits another way of viewing and approaching life. A way of rebellion, detachment, rediscovery, purpose, focus, discipline—and service. The goal of monk thinking is a life free of ego, envy, lust, anxiety, anger, bitterness, baggage. To my mind, adopting the monk mindset isn’t just possible—it’s necessary. We have no other choice. We need to find calm, stillness, and peace.
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All the best in your quest to get better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.
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