Driving across the country solo can be one of the loneliest parts of the life of a comedian, but the open road has recently become one of my favorite job perks. The act of throwing on cruise control and letting the thoughts flow with the asphalt has the power to put me in the zen state I need for my creativity to come alive. Music can tap into creative parts of the brain and bring out feelings you may have forgotten about—but podcasts have a special power of their own.
I love podcasts. There are literally thousands of hours of free stories, interviews, lectures, music, poetry and classes on just about any topic you could imagine. FREE! I listen to a bunch of different kinds of podcasts and each helps motivate me in its own unique way. Hopefully you’ve already tuned in to Pyragraph’s own Self-Employment Happy Hour podcast, but here are five more of my favorite podcasts for sparking creativity.
If you wish you could sit down with the most interesting and successful people in business, art, entertainment, athletics and about any other field you could think of and have an in-depth chat with them, this is the podcast for you. Tim Ferriss a bestselling author, best known for The 4-Hour Workweek and a “self-experimenter.” He’s managed to hack into the human mind and body and has developed techniques to learn any new skill in the least amount of time possible.
His list of superstar guests includes big names like Jamie Foxx, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tony Robbins and Amanda Palmer, but some of my favorite interviews have been from people I had never heard of before, like the founder of CD Baby, Derek Sivers. Every episode has the potential to inspire you and turn you on to new ways of thinking that you may have never imagined.
If you listen to enough of Tim Ferriss’ interviews you’ll notice a common thread. About three-quarters of his guests, no matter what field they’re in, say that meditation plays an important role in their process. I’ve talked to quite a few people about meditation, and most that I’ve spoken with who don’t meditate have the same reason as to why: “I just can’t shut my mind off, I’m always thinking about a million things at once.” These are the people who could probably use meditation the most. That’s the equivalent of someone saying, “I’m overweight and out of shape so I can’t go on walks.”
There are many different meditation techniques and styles, and believe it or not meditation isn’t about shutting your mind off, but rather quieting it so you can focus on what’s important. Like any new skill, it’s not going to be something you’re a pro at on your first try. It takes practice and dedication, but if you stick with it meditating can offer a multitude of benefits to your life, including enhanced creativity. (In fact, I came up with the idea to write this piece while meditating in the sauna at my gym.) The Learn To Meditate podcast from the Meditation Society of Australia is a great place to start. The series consists of 50 “classes” and each episode starts with a short story or parable, followed by easy-to-follow guided meditations with topics such as “living your bliss” and “loving, learning and laughter.” Episodes are generally 15 to 25 minutes long, easy to fit into a busy day.
“Storytelling, with a beat. Snap judgment mixes real stories with killer beats to produce cinematic, dramatic, kick-ass radio.” Everybody has interesting and unique stories if you talk to them enough, but Snap Judgment has managed to find some of the most interesting and unique stories out there. The stories are imaginatively blended with music and sound effects to take you to another world and let you experience that world through the eyes of the storyteller. Listening to these artfully produced stories can tap into the deep creative crevasses of your brain that you have forgotten existed, and trigger creative thoughts that you may be able to transfer to the canvas, the microphone or the guitar string.
Check out Pyragraph blogger James Judd‘s Snap Judgement performance for a taste of what you’ll find on this awesome podcast.
If you’ve never watched or listened to a TED Talk, you are truly missing out. TED conferences originally featured talks based on Technology, Entertainment, and Design, but have since grown to encompass talks on almost any subject imaginable based around their mission: “ideas worth spreading.” These days the talks take place across the globe. The TED Radio Hour features excerpts from various TED and TEDx (locally organized) conferences geared around a specific theme, and then dig in deeper with interviews of the speakers. Many of the episodes have inspired me to think outside of the box; if you’re interested in creativity, The Source of Creativity is a good place to start.
A couple of months ago the first thing I did after prying my eyes open every morning was roll over, grab my phone and mindlessly browse Facebook for an indefinite amount of time. I eventually realized that this was a mentally unhealthy way to kick off my day, so I finally decided to scrap it from my morning routine. Note, I didn’t go cold turkey; I’m not a madman. Instead I made a deal with myself that I would read, watch or listen to something positive before indulging in my social media breakfast feed. I decided to visit one of my old favorite podcasts, Morning Coach. Morning Coach is a short (about 15-minute) podcast designed to kickstart your day with a hit of motivation. The host, J.B. Glossinger, is a down-to-earth guy who’s easy to listen to and has contagious enthusiasm. J.B. covers a variety of topics from abundance to spirituality, and his podcast is a great alternative to hitting snooze or mindlessly scrolling through Facebook.
These are just a few of the myriad of amazing podcasts that are available for free to anyone with an internet connection. What are some of your favorite podcasts for getting those creative juices flowing? Share the wealth and post them in the comment section below. Until next time, keep creating!