Chances are, you’ve heard the name “Jay Shetty.” You may know him as the guy spitting wisdom bombs on Facebook, transforming ancient philosophy into digestible nuggets of modern-day inspiration, and sitting down with cultural icons to get their take on profound life lessons. Or perhaps you stumbled upon his bestseller, Think Like a Monk, amidst the self-help shelves at your local bookstore.
But how did this former monk conquer the digital world and become Facebook’s #1 personality?
In an episode of The Mindvalley Show with Vishen, Jay gives a crash course in defying expectations and proving that vulnerability might just be the secret sauce to online success. And that you, too, can find your unique way to make your mark on the digital world.
Watch the full 58-minute episode:
Who Is Jay Shetty?
Few names resonate louder in the self-help movement today than that of one Mr. Jay Shetty. He makes mindfulness meme-able and wisdom relatable, all while wearing his heart on his sleeve and keeping things light.
Sure, he’s known as the former monk with a bestselling book and a #1 podcast, On Purpose (and, who are we kidding, those piercing blue eyes are quite captivating on their own). But his ascent to the likes of Deepak Chopra, Brené Brown, and even Mindvalley’s own Vishen isn’t your typical rags-to-riches tale.
In fact, it’s more of a mantras-to-movement tale, if you will. Born and raised in London, Jay’s early life was marked by typical urban challenges, from navigating the complexities of identity to confronting societal expectations. His encounter with a monk during his college years was a pivotal moment, igniting a spark that would eventually lead him to exchange his conventional path for the spiritual rigors of monastic life in India.
“I was so convinced that the life I was getting to build as a monk was so much more meaningful and so much more fulfilling on a personal level and an impact level,” he tells Vishen. “And I felt there’s nowhere in the world that I’m going to be able to do this—to grow myself and grow others.”
From mountain monk to viral sensation
Eventually, Jay swapped saffron robes for a life back in mainstream society. He found a professional pathway to share what he learned as a monk with schools and large organizations. But it was only when he hit the land of algorithms and endless feeds that he found his calling.
“I was feeling this needs to scale; this needs to hit every person on the planet,” he recalls. He read a study that said more kids have access to a smartphone than a toothbrush and decided that to reach billions of lives, social media was the way to go.
Years of different formats, every filter under the sun, and relentlessly honing his craft later, Jay’s videos—as they say—went viral, shattering a billion views. Infused with warmth, humor, and soul-stirring insights, his Facebook following skyrocketed, cementing his status as the platform’s #1 personality.
Yet, building a loyal social media following isn’t Jay’s measure of success; it’s the tribe he’s built along the way.The success that the work has gained because it didn’t come from a place of strategy… It didn’t start with strategy. It didn’t start with a business idea. It started and still is very much from the heart. — @jayshetty Click To Tweet
He invited laughter and tears, shared his struggles and triumphs… And in doing so, he created a space where everyone felt welcome, seen, and heard.
3 Actionable Tips to Build Your Own Jay Shetty-Like Social Media Success
Now, there might be only one Jay Shetty in this world. But how can you tap into his social media savvy to create content that resonates with millions using your personal branding?
Here are three profound takeaways from his insights that might just hold the answer:
1. Understand your genre
“There are only five types of videos that go viral,” says Jay. They are:
- Adventure that captures the thrill and excitement of extraordinary experiences, like Red Bull’s jump from space.
- Comedy that brings laughter and lightheartedness, like “Charlie Bit My Finger.”
- Emotional that connects deeply, often resonating with personal experiences or current events, like Barack Obama’s “Yes, We Can” speech.
- Inspirational that uplifts and motivates, like Jay’s “Changing the World Starts With You.”
- Surprise that delights with the unexpected, like cat videos.
For your content to be effective, it needs to align with one of these genres. This doesn’t mean you have to change your message, but rather frame it in a way that fits into these categories.
“You should know the feeling you want people to have after they watch your video,” he advises. If you’re creating educational content, for instance, think about how you can infuse elements of these genres to make it more engaging and shareable.
Jay’s was clear from the start: “My feeling was people should want to share it with their friend and say, ‘we were just talking about this.’” It’s about finding the right balance and ensuring your content evokes the desired emotional response.
2. Identify your role
Your role in the video is as crucial as the content itself. Jay emphasizes the importance of recognizing whether you shine as a writer, a producer, or a host.
This understanding shapes how you present your content. Are you the charismatic host with the social skills to lead the conversation? Or the fearless adventurer showcasing thrilling moments? Perhaps the insightful voice crafting the narrative from behind the scenes?
Identifying and embracing your role ensures authenticity and effectiveness in your videos. It’s not about fitting into a mold, but understanding where your strengths lie.
If you’re not comfortable being the face of your content, “don’t play a role you’re not,” says Jay. Focus on writing or producing. The key is to play to your strengths and create content that feels genuine and natural to you.
3. Choose the right format
Just like stories need frameworks, your video deserves a captivating format.
You could engage viewers with a dynamic interview like Vishen in The Mindvalley Show. Or captivate them with your solo presence, like Shaun King. Or go documentary-style à la Gary Vaynerchuk’s daily vlogs.
“What I see is, everyone’s trying to sound and act and be like other people rather than figure out [their own],” says Jay. So consider the format that best suits your content.
The format should enhance your message, making it more engaging and relatable to your audience. Remember, the right one can transform good content into great, shareable content.
Build Your Online Legacy
Jay Shetty may be a household name now, but his monk-to-viral success started with a first step. And now, it’s your turn.
This is your invitation to the Mindvalley Social Media Mastery program, where the wisdom of experts like Vishen, Nuseir Yassin, Brendan Kane, Marisha Lakhiani, and Iman Oubou (just to name a few) awaits you. Here, you’ll learn more than just posting content; you’ll learn everything from building a strong brand presence to leveraging AI.
As Jay says, “The highest purpose is to live in service.” And social media is a place—maybe even the place—where you can transform your passion into prowess and your ideas into impact.