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Could Thinking Like A Monk Help?

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.