If you see me with my headphones on, chances are I’ll be listening to the Nerdist podcast. On my way to work or at the gym, I don’t even listen to music anymore. And at home, I’ll turn my speakers on and listen to it while doing the dishes or any other chore. Hosted by Talking Dead’s Chris Hardwick, and usually accompanied by comedians Jonah Ray and Matt Mira, the podcast is an hour long chat on nerdiness, creativity, life, work, comedy and everything in between. With over 600 episodes released since 2010, some of the guests they had on the podcast include: Sir Paul McCartney, Guillermo Del Toro, Kevin Smith, members of the cast of Community and The Walking Dead, Tom Hanks, Neil Patrick Harris, Dave Grohl, Anna Kendrick, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and several other interesting and funny people. The language is totally NSFW and the jokes can be so dirty and absurd, it’s hard not to burst out laughing. But then the conversation can take a turn and become deeper and more philosophical, and it’s exactly that mix of themes that turned me into a hardcore fan. Every episode makes me see the guests under a different light and a lot of what they talk stays with me for a while. So I’ve put together a list with five things I learnt listening to the Nerdist podcast to share with you guys.
1. Worry is a misuse of imagination
I used to be super anxious and I’d create so many scenarios in my head, trying to convince myself that I was simply getting ready in case things went wrong. It took me years to realise that this kind of behaviour is simply a huge waste of energy and brain power. I’m doing my best to keep my anxiety to a minimum, some old habits take time to get rid of, but I function better using my imagination to good use (like updating this blog!). It’s a theme that comes back time and time again as anxiety is a common trait to creatives.
2. You can’t control the outcomes, but you can control your perception of them
This actually ties in perfectly with the previous idea of how worrying is pointless as you can’t really control some of the outcomes in life, but you can definitely control how you perceive them. There’s nothing wrong with failing, specially if you’re able to spin it around and see it as an opportunity to learn more about yourself and grow. And it’s up to you what exactly can be considered a “failure” anyway, it all comes down to your own perception in the end.
3. Don’t compare yourself to others
Watching other people succeed can feel like looking at a negative mirror that only shows all the things you’re not doing or maybe you’re not good at, but for the sake of your own sanity, don’t let yourself fall into that trap. Honestly, no good will come out of it. Be happy for them, use it as fuel to find your own space and keep doing your own thing. Don’t allow comparison to steal your thunder. And its a bit reassuring to hear that coming out of someone as accomplished as Charlie Day, even he feels a bit jealous of Justin Timberlake’s dancing skills at times.
4. Be kind to yourself
It’s funny how I’d rarely treat myself with the same empathy and understanding that I offer to my friends, acquaintances or even strangers. And it’s interesting how a lot of people feel that if they were able to go back in time and tell only one thing to their past-selves it’d be to relax a bit more. On his episode, Ethan Hawke mentioned the time he interviewed Kris Kristofferson and that’s exactly what he would do. We tend to be so hard on ourselves, we worry too much and take mistakes too seriously and feel like shit close to other people’s achievements. Give yourself a break, you’ve deserve it more than you think you do!
5. Enjoy your burrito
Episode 39 with Rainn Wilson marks the birth of the Nerdist mantra now used to close every episode, based a motto Jonah came up with while struggling with his career in comedy early on. Basically the only good thing in his life at the time was having his favourite burrito and one day he got really depressed as he was halfway done and realised he’d have to get back to his crappy job once he finished eating. So he decided to enjoy the moment, treasure it, and worry about the future and other stuff later. It’s a nerdy carpe diem, a reminder to not get so caught up in minor problems and cherish the present as you’re living it. We tend to idolise the past or put a lot of expectations in the future, and end up forgetting to enjoy the delicious burrito we might have right this second in our hands. I used to think of carpe diem as a philosophy too hedonist for someone as anxious as me but now I see it more like being grateful for your blessings so you can experience them fully. Plus, it’s also quite cool to hear actors with beautiful voices and accents like Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston saying it as their episodes come to and end.
Polarise, don’t neutralise: this was brought up the first time TJ Miller was on the podcast when they discussed how it’s always better to cause a reaction and stand by your work and your art than simply follow whatever everybody else is doing just to be liked. Find your own voice, be truthful to yourself, and your audience will get it and accept you.
What about you, what podcasts do you listen to? Any meaningful life lessons? Maybe I can make an exception and give a chance to something new if it sounds interesting. 😉