For staff in schools it can be difficult to switch off. We often think about our work, our students, our frustrating colleagues and unrealistic parents. This can keep us awake at night or hijack our thoughts during the weekend or even the holidays.
In his great book, “Think Like A Monk”, author Jay Shetty, suggests that if you want to become a master you should learn from the best. If you want to be a great basketballer, you should learn from Michael Jordan. If you wanted to learn about innovation, follow Elon Musk and to become a master performer then learn from Beyonce. Shetty recommends that if you want to train your mind to find peace, calm and purpose, Monks are the experts.
According to Shetty, Monks can withstand temptations, refrain from criticising, deal with pain and anxiety, quiet their ego and build lives that brim with purpose and meaning. That sounds great, doesn’t it? For millennia, monks have believed that meditation and mindfulness are beneficial, that gratitude is good for you and that service makes you happier.
Shetty draws the comparison between the monk mindset and the monkey mindset. He argues that today we struggle with overthinking, procrastination and anxiety as a result of engaging the monkey mind. The monkey mind switches aimlessly from thought to thought, challenge to challenge, without really solving anything.
MONKEY MIND MONK MIND
Overwhelmed by multiple branches Focused on the root of the issue
Complains, compares and criticizes Compassionate, caring, collaborative
Overthinks and procrastinates Analyses and articulates
Distracted by small things Disciplined
Short-term gratification Long-term gain
Demanding and entitled Enthusiastic, determined and patient
Looks for pleasure Looks for meaning
Looks for temporary fixes Looks for genuine solutions
The end of the school year is always frantic, challenging and demanding. Now might be the perfect time to work on your Monk mindset. If you aren’t ready for the book (yet) then perhaps finding a quiet time each day to calm your mind and focus on your breathing can help you through these challenging times.