How can you become smarter?

This familiar Apple logo offers a clue on where this article takes you.

As a heads up, I’m not going to sell you something, this article is not stealth marketing. Where I’m going with this article is to simply suggest a small lifestyle hack that can have a profound impact upon your thinking, knowledge, and insights. It costs nothing and uses what you most probably already have. I stumbled upon it myself, and so I’m sharing it now so that you can benefit as well.

It is possible to drift through life with no curiosity at all. However, there are better ways to live. We inhabit an amazing place. Our galaxy alone has literally hundreds of billions of stars. Yes billions, not millions. That one galaxy is not alone, there are literally trillions of other galaxies. Yes, Trillions, not just billions, and each has hundreds of billions of stars. The cosmos is vast, so vast that our minds simply cannot grasp it all.

While there is much we simply do not know, there is now a great deal that we do know and understand. Things that our not too distant ancestors attributed to gods, such as weather, the sun, the moon, lightening, etc.. are now things that we do know and to a degree understand.

Would you like to know more, understand more, learn more?

You can, it’s a choice you can make right now.

We all have empty time. These are moments that we can tap into and repurpose. Think about all the travel you do. Going to and from an office each and every day. Well OK, not so much of that these days. Time spent driving to the store, and then being in the store. Just out walking or jogging. Time waiting in some queue for something.

How much empty time do you have each week?

You can utilise that empty time to learn something that you are passionately curious about. Be open to having your existing ideas challenged and press the boundary of your understanding even further. Most of us carry a smartphone in our pockets. Use it to fill the empty moments with new insights and new understanding.

Subscribe to some podcasts.

Yep, that’s it, that is what this posting is about.

If you have a smartphone, then the podcasting app is free. You can subscribe to a vast diversity of podcasts for .. gasp … free. If you develop a bond with some, then you can of course toss them a few dollars, the price of a coffee to help keep the lights on. Content creators do appreciate such support, but generally it is a passion that drives them, and not simply a career to be a professional podcaster.

What Podcasts?

No, I’m not about to plug my own. Right now being a podcaster is just not my thing. I am however fanatically ensnared by some of the many out there.

No, I’m not about to take a left hand turn into some paid for advertising. Below are two podcasts that I personally listen to on a regular basis day in and day out, and highly recommend, not because I’m being paid to promote them, but because I simply love them, and relish the moment when the next episode becomes available.

Side note: they both fund themselves via a couple of paid ads in the middle for a few mins. If you really hate the ads, just fast forward. You can also get ad free versions by becoming a patron supporter, but even as a regular listener, you don’t need to do that.

Recommendation 1 – The Skeptics Guide To the Universe.

I’ve been listening to this one for over ten years now. I can honestly say that it has actually changed me. What I think is true has changed. How I think about many things has changed. How I now live has also been changed. I own them a great deal.

The leading host is Steven Novella. He is clinical neurologist and assistant professor at Yale University School of Medicine. Along with Steve are four other rogues, Evan Bernstein, Cara Santa Maria, Bob Novella, and Jay Novella.

Each week, since about 2005, they have covered the latest science news, and also pull apart mythsconspiracy theoriespseudoscience, and paranormal claims that have popped up in the past week. Steve also tosses out three news items and asks his rogues to try and work out which is the fake one he just made up. It’s fun to see if you can do better than his fellow rogues do.

Give it a go. You will find that the science is accessible, and listening to them is fun. Over time you will learn a great deal.

Recommendation 2 – You Are Not So Smart

Here you will find David McRaney interviewing some truly fascinating people. He is deeply curious, not just about about human psychology in general, but also specifically about why people change their minds.

When faced with people believing a lot of truly weird stuff, understand this arms you with the potential ability to have meaningful conversations.

In a recent episode he sat down with Megan Phelps-Roper. She rather famously left Westboro Baptist, and so together they explored what happened and why she changed her mind about what is often labelled the most hateful group in the entire US. I found this fascinating.

In another recent episode he interviews Kate Leaver to explore her new book, Good Dog. That covers “the science and history of our extraordinary relationship with dogs and focusing on the role that dogs can play in enriching and improving our mental and emotional health.”. Yes, I have a dog, and yes, I found this one to be inspirational because much of it resonated.

Again, as before, I encourage you to give it a go.

There are many many more

The above are two samples, just personal recommendations. Beyond these initial candidates is a great deal more. Each and every day it continues to all grow.

For any and every one, dip in and sample. If it is not for you, let it pass and move on. If however you are hooked and engaged, then you have discovered something that you can use as an immensely powerful tool to enrich your life by filling the empty spaces of your life.

Looking Back

When you look back, will you have filled the momentary daily voids with something meaningful, or will you have simply floated with the tide?

Fill your time voids with content that inspires, invokes awe and wonder, challenges you, leads you to new ideas and introduces you to thoughts you would not have previously considered. You will become a better person, smarter, more knowledgeable, enriched with a true wealth, the only real wealth worth striving for.

Questions for Commenters

  • Do you have a specific podcast that has you hooked? If so then drop a note to recommend it and tell us why it is your go-to podcast.
  • How you got any tips regarding when and where to listen to podcasts, or suggestions on ways of finding new content? If so, please do drop a comment.

1 thought on “How can you become smarter?”

  1. I don’t have a “go to” podcast, per se, depends on whether I need cheering up, a good laugh, informative listening or a complete escape. I do enjoy Micah Hanks, sceptics don’t particularly like him, neither do the pro-paranormal crowd, so far he hasn’t claimed to be far right. That’s fine by me.


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