Haenim Sunim is the bestselling author of Love for Imperfect Things: How to Accept Yourself in a World Striving for Perfection and The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down: How to be Calm in a Busy World. He is also a monk and a Zen Buddhist teacher. Haemin was born and raised in South Korea and moved to the US when he was 18 to study at Berkeley, Harvard, and Princeton. While he was working on his Master’s degree program he went back to South Korea and received the proper monastic training there.
He has over 1 million followers on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. His first book sold over 3 million copies and he has taught Asian religions at Hampshire College in Massachusetts for seven years.
In our society today people always seem to be so busy. We get burnout, stressed, overworked, overwhelmed. Haemin believes it is because we are goal driven, striving to get the end result as quickly as possible, and we aren’t taking time to enjoy what we are doing. We have lost the joy of living and working.
Is it possible to reclaim our joy at work? Haemin says it is possible and suggests, “one of the ways to reclaim joy is to rediscover your own intention. What is your first reasons why you got into that particular industry? Or, that particular job. Usually that intention, first intention wasn’t just make a lot of money and just do this kind of thing or that. But rather, it usually centers around helping other people or doing something good for the greater society or something. If you can just realign yourself with your first love, with your first intention, that’s one step closer to reclaiming joy.”
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He also suggests taking time off away from work to avoid burnout. Even if you only take one hour away from work to go for a walk and think about other things it can help you feel better.
In order to combat stress Haemin suggests we don’t keep everything compiled in our head, because that is what makes it worse. If you have too many things happening and you are overwhelmed, write everything down on paper and start with the easiest tasks first. Getting those first couple tasks done will motivate you to keep going.
Haemin’s daily routine is a very intense one, when he is at the monastery he is up by 3:00am and then throughout the day they have specific times blocked off for meditation, cleaning, and eating. When he is not at the monastery he is up by 5:00am and he always makes time to meditate and to walk before and after he goes in to work at The School of Broken Hearts in South Korea.
One of his pieces of advice to listeners is to go to bed an hour earlier than usual, and see how it affects your schedule and attitude. By going to bed earlier, you get up earlier in the morning which gives you more time in the morning to start your day right–whether you pray, meditate, workout, etc.. starting your day right can have a huge impact.
And if you are having trouble finding purpose and meaning at work, Haemin says, “people find it when you are doing something beyond your own self interests. If you are helping other people, no matter how small it is, you see that you are contributing something for the better. The reason why it provides you with the sense of meaning is because from a Buddhist perspective, there is nothing but one interconnected reality. If you just subscribe yourself only in terms of your conceptual thoughts, ideas, then you reside, you live your life mainly from the perspective of your own ego.”
What You Will Learn In This Episode:
How Haenim became a Zen Buddhist teacher and what a typical day looks like for him
How we can reclaim joy in our lives and at work
Haemin’s advice on combating stress
His thoughts on technology and social media
How to deal with loss in business
How to disassociate ourselves from our career
Advice to graduates figuring out what to do in life
The importance of self care