Making Wisdom Go Viral: Q+A with YouTube Sensation Jay Shetty

Cornerstone Editors

In an era where viral videos are often seen as a benchmark for success, Jay Shetty is, by all accounts, very successful.

The 30 year old host and content creator has garnered over 1 billion views on YouTube since he launched his channel in 2016. His topic of choice? Wisdom.

"Wisdom is realized or practically applied knowledge," Shetty explains. "Wisdom is the ability to navigate life. And when you can navigate life, you can be happy, positive, grateful and successful."

Shetty's goal to make wisdom go viral may sound lofty—after all, most viral videos aren't tackling such broad subject matter—but he says our penchant for learning is present in everything we do and his videos just add an entertainment aspect to something we all inherently crave.

As his social following grows (he's up to 3 million followers globally), it seems he's on to something—so much so that Shetty has been asked to share his experiences with corporations in order help them infuse their cultures with an appetite for continuous learning.

Ahead of his keynote presentation at Cornerstone Convergence, we spoke with Shetty about how to cultivate wisdom in the workplace, help employees find their unique strengths and squash some common misconceptions about millennials.

How do you motivate people to feel driven and inspired by their work?

It's all about starting with your strengths. For me, it's about helping people find the intercept between what they love and what they're good at, and helping them go all-in in that area. When you do what you're naturally good at, you feel more confident, you put more effort in, you learn more. When you're doing what you're passionate about, you're going to take more of an interest in self-development, personal growth and continuous learning.

How can employees find their individual strengths?

The best way to find your strengths is to do a strength finder test. Another way is to think about where others tell you you excel. Try to say "yes" to doing a lot of different things at work and then ask yourself, "Which one did I get most congratulated on and which one was the most effortless for me?" We all have something that we do that's effortless whether it's writing a blog or making an Excel spreadsheet. The stuff that you find easier is usually your strength.

How can companies better retain millennials and Gen Z workers who have a tendency to job hop?

A big part of it is focusing on the individual. Millennials and Gen Z don't like labels, so the biggest challenge is to not label everyone in one big box. The more organizations can focus on excavating and observing workers' unique skills, characteristics and talents, the more millennials will feel engaged. For example, if a millennial is an Instagram photographer, how can you engage their photography skills in the workplace even if their job is finance-based or analytics-based?

Statistics today show that over 50 percent of people are under-engaged in the workplace and the reason for that is that what they're truly passionate about is not connected to the workplace at all. What they find meaningful and fulfilling, they don't know how to apply it to their current work environment.

As a millennial yourself, what are some of the biggest misconceptions that people have the cohort?

Many people feel that millennials are entitled, arrogant and think that they're better than everyone else. We're just more vocal about our needs. If our parents wanted more money, they wouldn't have asked for it—we will. We're just more transparent and vocal about what we actually want.

Millennials are very hard working, focused and are able to apply themselves. Statistics show that the millennial generation is twice as entrepreneurial as the previous generation. There is a streak of independence, of personal growth, of taking responsibility. Companies should learn to channel that energy.

How can employers develop leadership skills among millennials?

It's not surprising companies believe they are weak when it comes to millennial leadership development. Millennials are leading in an era that hasn't been led in before. There are unique challenges associated with leading in this era.

With that said, there are timeless leadership traits that will always be relevant, such as humility, integrity, honesty, transparency and empowerment. These are principals that are going to apply regardless of generation, because it's what we all want from our leaders. Employers should focus more on spotting and nurturing these timeless traits, because it's these traits that build real people who can change the world.

Header photo: Creative Commons

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