Introduction - Start Here
What to Expect
Welcome to the Monk Manual start guide!
Before we get started, take a look at the principles below.
When life becomes hectic, chaotic, and overwhelming, it’s important to remember your guiding principles that will lead you back to the quiet peace that comes from living a full life.
Take Small Steps that Lead to Big Change
We often embark on using a tool like the Monk Manual with hopes of making big changes. That’s great! But it’s important to remember that lasting change is often slow and requires patience.
So be kind to yourself.
Transformation comes from regular daily practice; small changes compounding over time.
Much of our growth comes from just showing up every day and trusting the process. It’s in this daily engagement where the transformation, and ultimately our life, takes place.
Choose Intentional Action over Busyness
More does not mean better, more just means more. Activity in and of itself is not progress.
Every day, week, and month we are bombarded with constant distractions that take us away from what is truly most important in our lives. To overcome this, we can learn to budget (intentionally spend) our time and acknowledge that every “yes” we make with our time is a “no” to something else.
Through daily reflection, we gain insight and clarity about what really deserves our time and attention which in turn enables real progress to take place.
That said, intentionality can be dangerous if directed toward the wrong goal. As Allen Raine once said, “You may get to the very top of the ladder, and then find it has not been leaning against the right wall.”
By your decision to invest in your Monk Manual, you’ve shown your goal is to live a fuller life in which you experience greater peace, purpose, and productivity.
We have engineered the Monk Manual 90-Day Planner to help you do just that.
Move Towards Not Away
What we focus on tends to grow. Unfortunately, we often struggle with negativity and fall into habits that move us away from our true purpose.
Rather than focusing on the negative and running away from something, the Monk Manual helps us move toward a fuller life.
As we use the gratitude section of the Monk Manual each day, we naturally find more and more goodness in our daily lives.
We find a deeper sense of joy and peace as we acknowledge and experience the good in our lives. This good can be something as simple as a warm cup of coffee in the morning, the comfort of your bed at night, or the time you spend with an old friend.
Build Your Life
There is a temptation, for all of us, to live a life based on the expectations of others rather than on what is truly best for us.
Expectations in and of themselves are not bad, and it is certainly true that we find fulfillment as we give of ourselves, but our generosity must always be free or it is not generosity. We can only give what we truly have, and in order to give our unique gift to the world we must learn to break free of ego needs that depend upon the opinions of others for our sense of worth and validation.
By connecting with ourselves on a deeper level, we can become secure in our own desires and beliefs and then can freely give to others out of this place of freedom. Over time we see that our quiet internal voice is far more important than the loudest external one.
Be a Human Being, Not a Human Doing
Unfortunately much of modern productivity advice focuses heavily on getting more done, rather than living more fully. Accomplishment is pointless if it robs us of our peace and joy.
The art of human flourishing is not a path of choosing being over doing or doing over being, but rather choosing both.
Wherever you are, whatever you are doing you can be there, in that moment, fully engaged and fully alive. As we structure our days around the most important things we find that some of our deepest experiences of being come not from an absence of activity, but rather living into and experiencing the activities, projects and service that are tied to our unique contribution to humanity.
Make It Personal
The Monk Manual is a framework that is meant to be tailored to what works best for you.
In the following pages, we offer tips and recommendations, but your best experiences will come as you break in your own Monk Manual and adjust it to meet your own needs.
We designed it to be flexible enough for anyone, regardless of his or her stage in life. So remember, there is no “right” way, there is just your way.
Why it Works
The Monk Manual is the product of over ten years of research in best practices around productivity, psychology, and spiritual growth.
Every aspect of the Monk Manual is intentional—from its design to the specific language used throughout.
Here is just a sampling of some of the science behind the tool…