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Influencer Jay Shetty attributes Kobe Bryant's and Ray Dalio’s success to this practice

Max Zahn with Andy Serwer

Hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio and late NBA legend Kobe Bryant both rose to the top of their fields, but that’s where the similarities appear to end.

Dalio grew up on Long Island and received a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard University; Bryant spent his early years in Italy and skipped college altogether. When Dalio rose to prominence, he did it in finance; Bryant found superstardom at the Staples Center.

But former monk turned social media influencer Jay Shetty — who interviewed both figures last year for his podcast “On Purpose” — said in a recent interview with Yahoo Finance that each celebrity exuded a common trait: a grounded, down-to-earth quality that belied their professional success and wealth. Even more, Shetty attributes the sustained focus of Bryant and Dalio in part to meditation regimens that both undertook.

Speaking of his conversation with Bryant, which aired last September, Shetty says: “He was so grounded in the interview. When I was speaking to him, he had such an aura about him of calmness.”

Shetty echoes that sentiment in his description of Dalio, whom he spoke to last June. “He's one of the most grounded, humble people I've ever met,” Shetty says. “He at no point made anyone feel his stature. He was just so down-to-earth.”

Both Bryant and Dalio kept up meditation practices over their careers, as Bryant practiced mindfulness meditation and Dalio relied on transcendental meditation. They both credit 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.”

Over the past decade, mindfulness meditation has grown in popularity among major corporations and their executives, with courses taught at Google and various CEOs touting its benefits.

The approach resonates with Shetty, an online motivational figure with 27 million Facebook (FB) followers and 6.8 million instagram followers who at age 18 met a Hindu monk and began to spend extended periods at a monastery in India. Shetty alternated between austere religious practice and business internships over breaks throughout his university education — an experience he recounts in his book “Think Like a Monk,” released in April.

“Every single one of my summer vacations,” Shetty says. “Half of them I'd spend interning at corporate companies in London, and the other half I'd spend living as a monk in India.”

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 09: Jay Shetty attends the 2019 Streamys Social Good Awards at YouTube Space LA on December 09, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images for Streamy Awards)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 09: Jay Shetty attends the 2019 Streamys Social Good Awards at YouTube Space LA on December 09, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images for Streamy Awards)

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.

At age 28, Shetty held a comfortable job at professional services giant Accenture but remained dissatisfied, he said, eventually finding a career he enjoyed as a life coach and storyteller.

“I was really doing extremely well,” he says. “But I was feeling like I had a different purpose.”

He 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.”

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