If there was one tip I wish I could pass on to everyone that I talk to that I seriously believe would improve their lives immensely, it would be this:
Listen to Podcasts. Whenever you can.
It’s a very simple tip and one that I have personally utilised for the past 7 years, however there are still people out there who don’t understand exactly what a podcast is, why they should care or how they could personally benefit from it.
What is a Podcast anyways?
Put very simply, it’s a audio show on a particular topic that you download from iTunes and listen to at your leisure. The key difference between Podcasts and Radio Shows is that a you can select the topic that you want to listen to at any given moment, rather than what the radio station just happens to have scheduled.
The quality of production can vary from show to show so for example you’ll find some that are CD quality captures of professionally produced radio shows. And at the other end of the spectrum you’ll find recordings that are little more than a Skype conversation between 2 dudes in MP3 format
The thing that isn’t immediately apparent about this is just how much information is sitting there waiting for you to discover and just how good some of that information really is. The Skype recording of 2 guys doesn’t sound all that appealing at first, however what if that conversation was between your two favourite film directors, talking shop and discussing their latest projects? Or what if it was an interview with a prolific author outlining behind the scenes happenings of their latest NYT Bestseller?
Isn’t that just a small Audio Book? I already have those…
Almost, but not quite. I think an appropriate analogue would be to say that Podcasts are to Magazines what Audio Books are to, er, Books.
There is definitely something to be said for long form programmes, however you’ll find that Podcasts are a lot more agile in that they can adapt to new information and they will tend to be more up-to-date. Likewise they have the advantage of being able to present multiple perspectives as opposed to that of just the book’s author.
Also, did I mention that Podcasts are completely FREE? You don’t even need to hand over your hard earned pingers to get hold of this stuff!
How does this translate into improving myself daily?
If there is a podcast about every topic then there is almost certainly a podcast about what ever it is you want to know more about: Personal Finance, DIY, Psychology, Sports, Business, Movies, Music, News – And you can guarantee that whatever particular niche you’re after is catered to also.
The best bit, however, is that you don’t need to be sitting at your computer or reading from your iPad to digest all this knowledge. Load your mp3 player of choice with whatever podcast takes your fancy and you’re free to listen while you scrub dishes, mop the floor or mow the lawns. It’s also ideal for any commute time your shitty job may subject you to.
This essentially transforms time that would otherwise be spent laboring away at household tasks or wasting away in traffic into a prime personal development opportunity. You could teach yourself Japanese while you fold the laundry or even get your daily NFL bulletins while you make the bed. Multitasking is good.
I’m convinced and now I can’t live without Podcasts. What now?
So you’re gonna want iTunes and an MP3 player of some kind first and foremost.
Once you’ve got those sorted you can get some shows on the download.
Open iTunes and head to the Store and then click on the section labelled ‘Podcasts’. You should now find your senses assaulted by the sheer number of shows that are available, so have a browse around and see if anything tickles your fancy.
A few shows I can recommend as a start are Radiolab from WNYC, This American Life from Chicago Public Media and WTF with Marc Maron.
I’m planning to run reviews of various entrepreneur, personal development and lifestyle development Podcasts on the blog going forward so check back from time to time for more great shows to add to your listening queue.
Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions or recommendations of your own. I’d love to hear from you.