Rokas inspires a new generation

Rokas Stasiulaitis is a 21 year old AI/Robotics student who started the Man in the Making podcast to help people especially youth better manage depression, confusion and finding meaning and purpose. Rokas struggled with mental and familial issues himself and noticed a trend of mental health deterioration in his peers.

I met Rokas at an Ethics in AI event in London and we instantly connected. We were both early and as I was looking for a seat, he noticed and offered me the spare seat next to him. Even though we had just met, I felt like I knew him. He also had this determined, resilient energy that reminded me of myself.

After being mentored by former Monk and Changemaker Rajan Shankara, they created the Man in the Making Podcast. Named as a reference to a journey of self improvement and becoming a better person.

They engage in deep discussions about big questions that are not discussed enough in society, especially among the youth including topics like self realisation, the stages of development, depression, the subconscious, love, death, the ego, happiness and self love. It is incredible to see Rajan, who left the world at 19 to become a monk, now mentoring 21 year old Rokas as well as countless youth globally. I guess it saves Rokas from having to become a monk to understand himself!

I’ve been on a few episodes including one where we discuss overcoming hardship, consciousness, mental health and critical thinking. Sometimes the conversations are between Rokas and Rajan and other times they bring in guests.

After delving in to the mind, editing some of Hinduism’s oldest scripts and helping over 1000 people, Rajan brings an incredible amount of life wisdom. Yet he remains humble and curious, so it’s interesting to witness his growth as well. Rokas is softly spoken, intensely observant and strong willed. Rajan is rational but free thinking, more extroverted and has a unique ability to express himself and ask the right questions so it’s an interesting dynamic.  

They are both incredible inspirations to me. For Rokas to take his personal experience to create a platform for improving the mental health of those around him is beautiful. He told me how he personally knew a few suicidal people and that the podcast had helped them shift their perspective. I am excited to see him progress in the field of artificial intelligence and robotics. He is the sort of person we need to see in the field.

Rajan I respect for turning his own life around and undertaking such a noble journey at a young age. He could have easily stayed as a monk, living a relatively solitary life disconnected from the world. Instead he decides to impart his wisdom to the next generation and help transform lives through his nonprofit the ZenMind Academy. Last year he published his first book ‘Everything is Your Fault’ and he currently helps NASA with project coordination in Advanced Air Mobility.