IF YOU’RE looking for a success story a little different to the rest, Jay Shetty’s rise to stardom is a safe bet.
The motivational speaker has become a worldwide sensation in a matter of years, thanks to his take on mindfulness and wellbeing. Shetty, a former monk, is typically regarded as one of the most influential social media stars on the planet.
Even at a glance, the 33-year-old’s popularity is a sight to behold.
Shetty’s social media following total more than 35 million and his daily videos have amassed more than seven billion views. His podcast, On Purpose, which has seen him interview a number of celebrities, including the late basketball player Kobe Bryant, reality TV star Khloe Kardashian and musician Alicia Keys, has had more than 64 million downloads.
Speaking to the GG2 Power List, Shetty admits he never expected the level of success he has achieved. “I never imagined that this would ever happen,” he smiles. “I thought I’d make videos in the evenings and weekends, and go to my day job and do this as a hobby on the side, because I loved and believed in it. So the fact that it’s got to this level, to be honest, I just live in gratitude because I never expected it.”
Hailing from north London, the entrepreneur had a fairly uneventful childhood with his parents and younger sister. Shetty, who is from a British-Indian background, attended a prestigious grammar school in High Barnet and was a good student.
In his late teens, however, life unravelled slightly for Shetty. He began to mix with the wrong crowd, experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Suspended from school three times, he was eventually threatened with expulsion.
Given a second chance, Shetty promised to clean up his act, and he turned a corner. In