The crazier this world gets, the more motivated I am to become a better person. After all, you can’t change the world. You can only be the change to wish to see in the world. (Thanks, Gandhi, for putting that one so succinctly.)
Speaking of succinctly, I also need my inspiration to be my best self to come in short little bursts. In part because of my life circumstances—I’m an entrepreneur, and a parent to a 9 year old and an 11 year old, and a spouse, and a daughter and a daughter-in-law—and in part because of the nature of our world and our competing demands for our attention, I don’t have hours and hours of time to devote to bettering myself. I’ve got to get my inspiration in quick little bites.
So I’ve been on the hunt for podcasts that help satisfy my desires and still fit these realities. I’m happy to say I’ve found five podcasts that do just that—they help me be a better person, and they do it in 10 minutes or less.
(Full disclosure: one of them is my podcast, but hey, if you’re not going to vote for yourself, how can you expect anyone else to either?)
Here are that inspire me to be a better person, I hope they do the same for you!
This is a sweet, sweet podcast from WBUR, the Boston NPR station that showcases real stories about acts of kindness; some little, some big. It definitely makes you feel better about the world in general and thinking about how you can amp up your own kindness. (Technically, some of these episodes run longer 10 minutes, but most of them don’t.)
Good Kids: How Not to Raise an A-hole
OK, this one’s about parenting, but if parenting isn’t a bootcamp for being a better person, I don’t know what it is. Also, it’s an endeavor about raising better people, so it totally fits.
The truth and plain-spokenness in the title alone made me love this new podcast (it started in November, 2019). With a different speaker every week, this is a mélange of approaches to modern parenting; sort of like a mini Ted talk in each episode. It’s funny, it’s touching, it’s thought-provoking, and for those among us who love variety, it’s a little different every time.
The speakers are, according to the podcast’s website, “a diverse set of parents, teachers, policy makers, and world shapers.” I think it’s really helpful to remember that there is no one expert that’s 100 percent right – we all have valuable perspectives and when you put them all together, it adds up to more than the sum of its parts.
How to Be a Better Person
This one’s mine. =) Five days a week, I give you one simple thing you can do in the next 24 hours to be your best self, whether that’s in your own mind, at work, in your relationships, or in the world.
Producing this podcast has certainly made me a better person by getting me to think more deeply about what that even means, and how to do it, and why it matters. I’ll let some of my reviewers say the rest: “This podcast has become an essential part of my day.” “Short but poignant tidbits that fit into my daily life.” “Little actions to incorporate into your day that keep you sane.”
This five-minute podcast is hosted by Tracy K. Smith, a U.S. Poet Laureate. In each (daily) episode, she reads one poem and shares her thoughts on what the poem means. No matter where you stand on poetry, both the commentary and the poem help you see all kinds of things—mundane stuff, like airports, and deep stuff, like grief—differently. Plus, she’s got a great voice.
Every Monday, this podcast releases a short, 10-minute episode called Monday Motivational Moment that’s a mix of pop culture, pep talk, and love letter hosted by James Arthur, a queer blerd (black nerd) who’s way into personal development and it’s a good way to remember that there are all kinds of perspectives on self-care, and if you’re not into one approach, there’s another one out there for ya. This one’s fun, but still deep.
SUPER COOL Way to Share Your Favorite Podcasts with Someone Who Doesn’t Understand Podcasts!
A friend just turned me on to the coolest website called Give the Gift of a Podcast. It’s so simple—it’s a PDF that you can printout and stick in a pretty bag (so it’s giftable) and that says “I promise to show you how to listen to a podcast that I’ve chosen specifically for you.”
It’s a thoughtful gift that’s free, doesn’t add to the ocean of stuff circulating in the world, and gives the recipient a cool experience.