Do I Have a Problem Listening to 2.5 Hours of Educational Podcasts per Day? am listening to an average of 2.5 hours of podcasts per day so far in 2021. I didn’t plan it this way, but that’s how it’s turning out as I find more ways I can listen, and more podcasts and episodes to which I want to listen. The numbers look a bit out of control, though the important part is it doesn’t feel out of control. Still, I wonder if there is a problem with me listening to so much educational content per day, though I don’t mean a problem in the sense many might be thinking in terms of excessiveness with that time volume. But if not that, then what?

First, here’s a list of the podcasts to which I listen to regular:

  1. 99% Invisible
  2. Armchair Expert
  3. Art Curious
  4. Cautionary Tales
  5. Design Matters
  6. Freakonomics
  7. Happiness Lab
  8. Hidden Brain
  9. The Indicator
  10. Invisibilia
  11. Masters of Scale
  12. No Stupid Questions
  13. People I Mostly Admire
  14. RadioLab
  15. Revisionist History
  16. Sidedoor
  17. Spark
  18. Spark & Fire
  19. TED Radio Hour
  20. TEDTalks Daily
  21. Tim Ferriss Show
  22. Twenty Thousand Hertz
  23. Where Should We Begin?
  24. Worklife

They can be found in the bottom right of this blog if you were reading from anything much bigger than a phone, or in one of the menus on a phone or small tablet screen. There are about twice as many, if you count the ones to which I listen to less than half of the current episodes.

I am able to listen to so much podcasting each day because I live by myself, have lots of time to do chores and hobbies not involving word processing that conflicts with listening to podcasts, and have made it easy for me to do so with a portable speaker, rather than killing my ears with earbuds or headphones. I just take it around the apartment as I cook, eat, do dishes, fold clothes, sit on the loo for a number 2.2, etc. Sorry, that was a bit TMI, lol, but I do! If I lived in a house, I’d crank up the volume and listen to podcasts in the shower, too! Why am I feeling like I’m Dr. Seuss with all these ooo rhymes lol? I also do almost hour long walks several times a week when it’s too cold and/or slippery to run (in less gear than walking in case why you’re wondering I can do a less intensive activity in the cold). It all adds up real quickly, as I’ve been finding out!

I really, really, enjoy listening to most of these podcast episodes, and I am productive while listening to them in a meaningful way rather than background noise, so I’m not concerned about the time I listen to podcasts. Nor am I worried about volume for my ears with the speakers rather than earbuds most of the time, except for the walks that are a 2-3 hours each week in winter. What I’m “worried” about is what am I going to do with all this knowledge? I have all this psychology, economics, personality, science, data, communications, lifestyle, wisdom, among other knowledge, and I don’t really have many opportunities to use them! I have some in my own life, but a lot of what I learn needs to be applied in the real world, and I’m not in positions to share them, deploy them, use them, etc. More and more frequently, I’m finding myself “on the sidelines” or “periphery”, not able to contribute, or not getting engaged with if I do for credentials snobbery when others can’t, or just aren’t willing, engage in debate to see the flaws of their ways. I’m finding myself rolling my eyes more often at all this and worry that one day, I’m going to roll my eyes back so far, they won’t return to the normal position to see!

These podcasts, of course, aren’t meant to be courses in study to become experts or anything. Rather, they’re good explanations the masses can understand, sometimes with some specialty background, which I have more than enough of to build on. But the thing is this, credentials and studies, for all they’re worth, what good are they if someone with them can’t win a debate on what to do, finding the best course of action, making a different decisions, and so on? I don’t just listen to this stuff like it’s television! I think it through, sometimes rebuttal with other information (only in my mind but there’s a debate going on), sometimes research counter information, make myself explain it all back to ensure I understand it, then often connecting to other things I have learned. I almost do my own research and theorizing with this stuff. But dismiss that, too, if you wanted. The real test is can I stand up to whatever it is to which I object that I come across in life, whether economic policies, psychological thinking to incentivize other change personally or at a societal level, innovative solutions to common problems, and so on? I’m betting I could if I’m going to be opening my mouth. I don’t like to be embarrassed more than anyone else. But I’m not getting the chance at what I do for work, volunteer, or just on my own. That’s what I’m going to have to change in my life because you only have a certain number of years, you know. You can’t be super undervalued and under utilized on and on if you’re going to optimize your impact and value in the world.

And so the search intensifies as I intensify my knowledge, to find a place, project, purpose, etc. where I can use far more of what I have to offer than people care for. It’s time to put a stop to being limited, not so much by others, that’s their loss, but by myself to choose to stay where I am that’s neither serving me well to be under utilized, nor serving the world well to be deprived of everything I can bring. It’s time to stop using like 25% of my potential.


1000 words

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