Passion + strengths + service = purpose. That is the equation Jay Shetty, former monk and New York Times’ best-selling author, shared with ATD22 attendees during Tuesday morning’s keynote session.
Passion. Passion takes us down paths we never expected, Shetty explained. For him, that meant skipping his college graduation ceremony and traveling to India to become a monk. He pointed out that too often we hold on to things that have worked in the past. After the prior two years, he encouraged a new way of thinking and acting and asked attendees: What are you holding on to?
He then shared four habits he has learned, summed up as the acronym TIME—thankfulness, inspiration, meditation or mindfulness, and exercise.
Thankfulness boosts our mood and helps our immune systems. We can’t be feeling gratitude while simultaneously having anxious thoughts, Shetty noted. Writing helps, but expressing gratitude to others that is specific and personalized is more powerful, making both the recipient and giver happier.
We can attain inspiration by transforming our first and last thoughts of the day. Shetty suggested placing a reminder by your bedside. That may be a simple question: What am I grateful for? Or it could be a line from a favorite book.
Meditation is a practice that many people feel is “simply not for them,” Shetty said. He offered an alternative: Why not schedule a meeting for 25 or 55 minutes rather than the usual 30 or 60 minutes? Use that remaining five minutes for yourself—to get fresh air, hydrate, or step outside.
And exercise can range from getting in 10,000 steps to throwing a dance party or trying a new sport.
Shetty then added a final letter to the acronym: S for sleep. Sleep improves memory and energy, serving as a cleansing or “dishwasher effect,” as Shetty described it. He also reminded that we won’t always adhere 100 percent to the habits, but if you don’t schedule them, you’ll never do them.
Strengths. Shetty asked attendees to move to a side of the room based on whether they’re outgoing or reserved and people- or task-oriented. Everyone has natural strengths, whether they’re outgoing and task-oriented or reserved and people-oriented. He called out that we need to use those strengths or the world misses out on our unique gifts.
Service. How we feel about ourselves matters, Shetty emphasized. He quoted motivational speaker Wayne Dyer: “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Shetty offered the example of hospital cleaners, who could look at themselves as cleaners or as healers, because of the support they offer patients.
Based on Shetty’s equation, what is your purpose?