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Jay Shetty, the English writer ad life coach who gave the closing address at the historic 40th Sharjah International Book Fair, offered practical steps to enhance love and strengthen relationships, overcome fears, and build self-confidence, while also finding stillness, purpose, and clarity in their own lives.

The bestselling author of Think Like a Monk: Train Your Mind for Peace and Purpose Every Day, commenced the session by urging everyone to close their eyes and feel the “togetherness of the moment” to achieve the “calm and purpose” that lie within all of us.

At the session hosted by Sally Mousa, the 34-year-old host of the podcast On Purpose, said: “Love is like a circle; whatever you give, you get it back. The problems are your expectations because you may not always get love back from the same person.”

As a young teenager who was obsessed with the rags-to-riches stories of the powerful and the wealthy, Shetty described how his life changed at the age of 18 when he attended a captivating talk by a monk in London, UK. “He was the first person in my life I had met who was genuinely happy,” said Shetty, who followed the monk on his speaking tour, and spent a few summers at his monastery in India, and eventually trained to become a monk himself.

Stating that living in the past and worrying about the future are roadblocks that prevent individuals from attaining their potential. “Be aware of where you are right now and what you are doing; seek out places and moments of silence to reconnect with yourself,” he advised.

Explaining his views on success, the writer shared his philosophy: “When I wake up and I do something I love with love – that is a success. I can do that anywhere, in any time zone.”

Success is not about numbers, social media likes, or the sizes of homes, he said, advising the audience not to confuse success with happiness. “Success is beautiful, but happiness comes from having a purpose; it’s a different path to follow. Do not confuse the two.”

Negativity, anxiety, overthinking and people’s expectations can weigh anyone down, said Shetty, urging people to seek a new way of looking at the world. “It’s dangerous and unhealthy to live your life based on the perceptions or expectations of others. People’s opinions change based on how they feel that day.”

Focus on the self instead, he advised. “You live inside your own mind and body and you must live with the consequences of your own choices; not that of others.”