Social media influencer Jay Shetty left behind a comfortable job at professional services giant Accenture five years ago to launch a media career. Now, his posts reach 27 million followers on Facebook (FB) and another 6.8 million on Instagram, and his podcast puts him in conversation with the likes of fellow influencer Khloe Kardashian and hedge fund legend Ray Dalio.
Over the course of his sudden rise to fame, Shetty identified three traits he believes successful people share: persistence, dedication to a purpose beyond themselves, and commitment to a meditation practice.
“Being able to accept no's and rejections and failures is the biggest factor,” Shetty, 33, told Yahoo Finance in March. “So many of us get tired by hearing a couple of no's or we get upset by hearing a couple of no's or couple of rejections just throw us off our path.”
“These people have been rejected a million times and are ready to be rejected a million times over,” he adds.
Shetty faced numerous barriers when he first sought a new career, recounting a series of failed job applications he sent out while still an employee at Accenture.
“I applied to 10 media companies in London that rejected me before an interview because they said, ‘Jay, you have no communications background, you have no media background, you've no hosting background, you have no videography or editing background,’” he says.
‘Living for a purpose higher than themselves’
Shetty challenged the notion that people who attain professional or monetary success are motivated by self-interest. In fact, the top performers excel in service of a larger goal, he said.
“All of these people are living for a purpose higher than themselves. They're not just going out there to make it,” he says. “They're going out there to make a difference.”
The bulk of workers appear to agree. A survey conducted in 2018 by networking site LinkedIn found that 71% of professionals say they would be willing to take a pay cut to work for a company with a mission that aligns with their values.
Meanwhile, a study released by job listing site Indeed last October found that more than half of people were willing to take a pay cut in order to switch to a career they prefer.
Shetty spoke to Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer in an episode of “Influencers with Andy Serwer,” a weekly interview series with leaders in business, politics, and entertainment.
Shetty, a former monk who in April released a book called “Think Like a Monk,” said most of the successful people he’s met have kept up a meditation practice. He pointed to Dalio and the late NBA legend Kobe Bryant, both of whom sustained meditation regimens over their careers.
Bryant practiced mindfulness meditation and Dalio relied on transcendental meditation. They both credited the techniques for helping them focus amid the fast-paced, stressful work environment in which each of them thrived.
“Kobe Bryant had a meditation practice,” Shetty says. “[Lakers forward] LeBron James has a meditation practice. We're just so unaware of what is hidden behind these people.”
Speaking of Dalio, Shetty says: “Meditation has been such a deep part of his life.”
Shetty describes a type of meditation he calls “question meditation,” in which a practitioner poses questions to him or herself about the reasons behind a set of actions.
“We often think of meditations or things as just like calming the mind and stilling,” he adds. “But actually, meditation — and question meditations, particularly — are great at revealing stuff about ourselves.”