For the majority of us, modern day living means a lot of time that is spent on commuting. If you’re like me, you’re likely stranded for 5-10 hrs a week in either a car, or some form of transportation. Added up over time, this is a large chunk of our lives that is wasted, never to be seen again. I know some people listen to the radio filling their minds with junk such as pop music or sports talk radio. By listening to this garbage, we are essentially stuffing ourselves with junk food for the brain and soul. Because time is our most valuable resource, we should not squander it. So how can we effectively use our time spent on commuting? The podcast.
Humans have been exchanging knowledge and wisdom for tens of thousands of years through spoken language. Thankfully, modern living has given us the technology to harness this attribute on a grande scale. The podcast has allowed us to passively absorb the wisdom, experience and lessons from a wide variety of sources all with just a click of a button. Whenever I am driving or on public transit, I am listening to the life lessons from someone smarter and wiser than me. Instead of 5-10 hrs a week wasted, these hrs are spent learning and improving myself.
I’m sure my list will omit many worthwhile podcasts but there’s only so much time in a day so we can’t listen to all of them nor should be we try to. But there are a few not on this list that have caught my eye recently and time permitting, I will check them out. A thing to keep in mind is that a valuable podcast isn’t just another way for us to self flagellate by pumping ourselves up with good feelings. If a podcast’s underlying structure is grounded upon messages of feel good “motivation”, but doesn’t give you more insight, knowledge, and applicable advice, then it’s a waste of time.
The Jocko Podcast
“Discipline Equals Freedom” – Jocko Willink
Jocko Willink is a retired Navy SEAL Commander who lead his team in the Battle of Ramadi. He is an all around bad-ass that has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and is built like a character from the video game Gears of War. He currently runs a company with another former Navy SEAL that teaches the principles of leadership that include how to manage people, conflict resolution, and building relationships. If you’ve lead a team of warriors through hell and back, then you can lead a team of civilians in the regular world. He has experienced things that most men wouldn’t dare dream of and he passes the lessons he’s learned onto you. Unsurprisingly, the principles of war can be be applied to all aspects of life. In fact, he has written a book that we’ve recommended before: Extreme Ownership
Jocko and his friend/producer Echo Charles produce a weekly podcast that is 2-3 hours long and not one moment is wasted. The typical structure of the podcast consists of a “book review” where for the first 1.5 hours or so, Jocko reads select passages of a book that is typically within the war genre. What makes these reads special is Jocko interjects his own reference experiences on how and why a certain passage relates to life. While we should be reading the books he covers ourselves, having someone who has experienced similar experiences in his life explain it to us adds an extra dimension that we would not conceive of otherwise. In addition to the life lessons, are we exposed to wonderful books that we wouldn’t have otherwise considered. As well, the stories of war involving struggle, atrocities and destitute conditions that previous men have endured help us keep a level-headed perspective that whatever tribulations we’re going through often pale in comparison to what men who have fought in wars had to overcome.
The last 1/3 of the podcast is typically a Q&A where readers ask various questions about life and Jocko answers. Not only does Jocko have the life experience and wisdom to give the advice, but he’s a large proponent of explaining the why and the how so we understand why we’re doing what we’re doing.
Every so often, Jocko will have a special guest that will provide valuble insight and life advice based on their unique experiences. Some recent memorable guests that have really resonated with me have been Brian Stann – former Marine and retired UFC fighter – who talked about the lessons he learned as a marine, dealing with death and leading and his experiences being mixed martial artist and Dr. Peter Attia who covered his experiences as an ER doctor in the inner cities while dealing with death, crime, sleep deprivation and his own battle with pain killer addiction.
Jocko’s podcast certainly is not a feel-good podcast. He hits you with the cold hard truth so that you can better appreciate and live life. His advice is basic and always comes back to the virtue of adhering to discipline with all actions in your life so you can free yourself.
Discipline Equals Freedom.
Jocko can also be found on twitter.
Found My Fitness – Dr. Rhonda Patrick
Dr. Rhonda Patrick is a PhD in biomedical research and focuses on aging, cancer, nutrition and overall health and wellness. Dr. Patrick’s podcast is the go-to for the latest research in how to optimize your health and to optimize your body which is especially important if you want to perform well and stave off the effects of aging. (Another good site but without a podcast is P.D. Mangan’s Rogue Health and Fitness)
Due to time constraints, it is impossible for us to be experts of most things in life. This is particularly true when it comes to the sciences. The majority of us just don’t have the background knowledge to be able to discern what is good information and whether the latest “study” is significant and has real-world effects – and I say this as someone who works in the medical field. This is why I turn towards Dr. Patrick. She is a large proponent of firstly finding a plausible mechanism that could produce a hypothesized phenomena or health benefit. Then, using her expertise, she sifts through a large number of research that either supports or weakens the plausible mechanism. She then effectively conveys the research and benefits in a manner that can be understood by the layperson. Her podcasts are heavily filled with biology and biochemistry but for the most part, the salient points are explained well and she provides annotations in the youtube versions of the podcasts that explain the concepts further.
The structure of her podcast consists of either a shorter podcast on her own where she explains a certain health topic or intervention and the latest research behind it or, she’ll have a guest involving some of the top science researchers in the field of health and longevity. I highly recommend this podcast if you’re looking to improve your health and quality of life. In fact, she’s the reason why I have incorporated the consistent use of the sauna to elicit the heat shock protein response. You should also check out her website which contain health news and links to the youtube videos with the annotations to her podcast over at Found my Fitness
You can also find Dr. Patrick on twitter.
The Art of Health – Alexander AJ Cortes
Alexander has experienced a recent meteoric rise making significant waves on social media. Even though it seems like he came out of relative obscurity, he has been honing and perfecting his craft as an elite personal trainer for the last 8 years and has been writing regular columns on https://www.elitefts.com.
Anyone would be hard-pressed to find a podcast and social media network that can match Alexander’s overall value on improving a man’s life. With respect to improvements on physical health, his workout advice is solid, no-nonsense and he publishes most of it for free. If you’re looking to build a better, more powerful body, you won’t find better advice elsewhere.
Alexander doesn’t just cover physical health and workout advice, he gives valuable advice on life and personal development. Although Alexander is 28, his wisdom is that of a 68 year old’s as you can tell that he is well-read and has accumulated rich life-experiences for his young age. Alexander discusses philosophy and has covered topics on how to develop talents and reach success, the mistakes young men need to avoid and how to navigate relations with women. Physical health, emotional health, meaning and relationships are all intertwined and learning how to optimize each of them is essential to any man’s development at any age. Alexander’s advice provides men the tools to enhance each of these aspects.
I would also suggest following him on twitter and signing up for his email list. He gives out sage life and workout advice daily via twitter and he sends out 3 emails a day that are immensely valuable. Yes, you read that right. He sends out 3 emails a day and somehow he makes them all worth reading.
The Mike Cernovich Podcast
I couldn’t in good conscience leave out Mike Cernovich’s podcast completely because he’s produced a few years worth of quality podcasts filled with valuable life lessons. The reason he’s not on the main list is because Mike has been focusing more on the politics game recently and hasn’t been updating his podcast as regularly as he used to.
If you’re not familiar with his podcast, they’re basically lessons from his book Gorilla Mindset which teaches you how to command your thoughts and emotions so that you can live the life you want to live. His podcasts are around 25 min long focusing generally on one topic that pertains to improving your life. There’s over 2 years worth of material so if you’re serious about changing your life and want no non-sense direction, I highly recommend going over his old podcasts. While you’re at it, you should also pick up a copy of Gorilla Mindset which provides you with a wealth of tools to fix the mental leaks in your life.
The Jordan B. Peterson Podcast
Dr. Peterson is a clinical psychologist with tenure at the University of Toronto. I first heard about him when he was reprimanded by the university and media outlets when he stood against a bill in Canadian law that is forcing citizens to address others by their desired pronouns. I got a glimpse into his work when he was on the Joe Rogan podcast and ever since then, I’ve been hooked.
Dr. Peterson’s podcast is new having only released 6 episodes and the material certainly won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. But if you’re looking to challenge your previous beliefs on religion and its utility and are searching for spiritual growth and meaning of life, Dr. Peterson’s podcast will certainly provide you with the questions necessary to ask yourself along your journey. He’s an extremely intelligent, well-read man strongly influenced by the likes of Carl Jung, Jean Piaget and Nietzsche. Although some of the material can be “intellectually dense,” they are certainly stimulating and thought provoking.
Dr. Peterson can be found on twitter.
The reason to listen to podcasts can be summed up by Otto Von Bismark’s famous quote: “Fools learn from experience. I prefer to learn from the experience of others.” Rather than viewing driving or commuting as a stressful, time wasting endeavour, you can now use this time learn and grow from the experience, expertise and hard fought wisdom of others.
Here’s to staying fit (mentally) and looking sharp!