I have been a regular podcast listener for about 5 years now. For a long time I never really saw the appeal, why would I want to listen to someone else’s conversation? I started out by listening to audio books, I really enjoyed those and I was able to learn new and interesting things while doing everyday mundane tasks. The fist podcast that I ever listened to was Hardcore History. It was a lot like listening to an audio book, but more free form. For those of you who don’t know what Hardcore History is, it is a history podcast where each episode covers a certain time period or event from history; it is hosted by Dan Carlin. Each episode is about 2-6 hours long. The podcast is very story driven so it was easy for me to make the transition from audio books to this. Since it takes about 3 months for a new episode of Hardcore History to be released, I quickly burned through all the episodes and was left wanting more.
At first I was solely interested in history podcasts, but I had been tainted by Hardcore History and it was hard to find other history podcasts of the same caliber. One day, while I was browsing through the iTunes top 100 charts, I saw The Joe Rogan Experience. I had heard of it before and I knew who Joe Rogan was so I decided to give it a listen. That was the first conversation based podcast that I ever listened to. I was hooked. Many guests who appear on The Joe Rogan Experience have their own podcasts so it was easy to branch out from there. I would find guests that I enjoyed listening to, search to see if they had their own podcast, and if they did, I would subscribe to it. I have found some of my favourite podcasts this way.
Podcasts have truly changed my life. They have made me more intelligent and aware of what is going on in the world. They have exposed me to new ideas, different ways of thinking, and opposing viewpoints. They have helped shape the person that I am today. Here are 3 ways in which podcast will change your life.
They Make Everyday Activities Fun and Interesting
Not looking forward to washing the dishes? Throw on a comedy podcast and laugh the regularly boring task away. Got to do some cleaning for a couple hours? Put some headphones on and eavesdrop on a conversation with your favourite author. Is that long drive getting you down? Plug in that auxiliary cord and learn about the history of bread or how the Mongolians kicked everyone’s ass. We all have activities in our lives that we don’t look forward to, but they have to be done. They are usually boring, very often mindless, and feel like wasted time. Podcasts make these activities a little more bearable. Hell, if I know that I have a couple good podcasts in the que, I look forward to these activities and will even go out of my way to make time to get them done. Very rarely am I just listening to a podcast, more often than not it is coupled with some mundane, mindless activity. As a result, my house is cleaner, my long drives feel shorter, and my mind is fuller.
2. They Expose You to New and Interesting Ideas
Almost entirely because of podcasts (and more specifically The Joe Rogan Experience oddly enough) I have discovered some of my favourite modern day thinkers and philosophers. I have learned a great deal about things that I didn’t even know that I was interested in and gained a deeper understanding on the things that I was. A lot of today’s leading intellectuals and free thinkers either have their own podcasts or appear on a wide variety of other people’s podcasts. I don’t think I could recall the number of times I’ve had my mind blown by a tid-bit of knowledge casually dropped on one of my favourite podcasts. The beauty of podcasts is that the guest usually has the time to better explain themselves and their ideas. They are able to go into greater detail on what they are trying to say. It is something that is rarely found on any other medium. Besides, where else are you able to listen to a stand-up comedian interview an astrophysicist, neuro-scientist, and a cage fighter all in the same week? Where else can you listen to an Italian history professor with an affinity towards martial arts teach you about the slave rebellions of Spartacus? Nowhere is my guess. There is something for everyone in the world of podcasts. They are an infinite resource of information. Your job is to harness that knowledge.
3. Everyone Sees the World Differently and That In Itself Holds Value
This simple principal is the foundation in which I built my own podcasts off of. Everyone has their own subjective experience of the world. Someone, somewhere will be able to relate to that experience and find value in it. One of the most detrimental things to your well being (at least in my opinion) is feeling like you are alone in this world. Like nobody gets you. Like you are weird or strange because you feel x feeling about y. Listening to podcasts has been a huge benefit for my own personal mental well being. Hearing the trials and tribulations of others, and how they dealt with them, has put my own challenges into perspective. Its very comforting listening to people talk about their struggles and how they pulled through, it’s inspiring. Really listening to people talk also exposes you to the different ways in which people think as well as to why they may hold the views that they do. Hearing viewpoints, that I may have disagreed with in the past, being discussed in an open and honest way on a podcast has broadened my mental horizons. It has made me a more nuanced thinker. When you give people as much time as they need to get their point across, they are able to provide more context to why they believe the things that they do. It humanizes people. It helps you to see that we’re all just people doing the best we can with what we have. If you talk with someone long enough you’re sure to find common ground. It is my honest belief that open and honest conversations, like the ones heard on a lot of podcasts, will save the world.