Being a human can be a challenge. Being a teenage even more so – we’re flooded with change and responsibilities and on top of this we don’t have as much choice as we probably want.
Podcasts can be a simple thing to listen to so to remind your mind that even those who have had harder times, have found cool ways to push themselves to go on with things, learn from their challenges and create awesome things in their future. They’re a great way to shift your mind when it is feeling tired or negative, confused or dumfounded.
Here are some inspiring podcasts to give you stories, skills and strategies that can take you away from the ordinary into the dreams at the top of Maslows mountain. Learn from the examples and inspiration of others. If you have never seen or heard of them, TED Talks are a wonderful thing to turn to if you are looking for an interesting story about almost anything. Click on the Watch button of the TED link to watch from hundreds of cool stories
- Back to Work
- TED Talks
- Daily Boost
- On Being
- Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything
- Personal Growth Podcasts
- Radio Diaries
- This I believe
- What It Takes
- Here Be Monsters
Whether they are science geeks or not, curious teens will appreciate Radiolab‘s determination to unpack science in all of its uncertainties. As noted above, the show has done everything from investigating why humans laugh (and whether we’re the only mammals that do) to just what makes space worth exploring. The two hosts, Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, approach these questions from opposite sensibilities but when they disagree it’s with respect and a healthy sense of humor. For more like this, try Science Friday or Invisibilia.
Teen-friendly episodes: #2.2: “Musical Language,” #2.5: “Space,” #4.1: “Laughter,” #10.1: “Colors,” #10.5: “The Bad Show”
PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman host a weekly look at life on the Internet. As with all the best Internet searches, their investigations often lead them down rabbit holes to people and discussions they could never have anticipated when they first began searching a particular issue. The process and their serendipitous discoveries are related with humor and insight. Whatever happened to the first webcam star? How does an investigation of the Girl Scouts cookie empire lead to an internment camp during World War II? For more like this, try Hello Internet.
Teen-friendly episodes: #6: “This Proves Everything,” #9: “The Writing on the Wall,” #18: “Silence and Respect,” #23-24: “Exit & Return Part I and II,” and #28: “Shipped to Timbuktu”
Perhaps the most famous podcast of the last year, the first season of NPR’s Serial explores one criminal case over 12 episodes. Host Sarah Koenig retraces the investigation of the 1999 murder of high school student Hae Min Lee to discover if there is room for doubt in the conviction of Lee’s classmate (and ex-boyfriend) Adnan Syed for the crime. This is investigative journalism at its best from reporters who know how to tell a story and keep listeners coming back for more. This is a perfect introduction to the format, giving listeners a definite beginning, middle, and end to an episodic narrative. A resolution to the crime is not guaranteed, but energetic discussion definitely is. For more like this, try its parent podcast, This American Life, or for more true crime, Criminal.
Roman Mars’s smart, insightful episodes focus on the many ways that design impacts our lives. The title comes from the idea that good design should be mostly unnoticed. We all benefit from good design from our cell phones’ rings to stackable chairs, but we rarely think too hard about the who, the why, or the how of those particular designs. Each episode tackles the history, usage, and innovation of a design, from flags to fonts. Why did the hashtag become the character we now use in social media (and just what did we use it for before, anyway)? Did the inventor of revolving doors really hate people? How terrible is your state flag? For more like this, try Design Matters
Teen-friendly episodes: #8: “Free Parking,” #43: “The Accidental Music of Imperfect Escalators,” #44: “The Pruitt-Igoe Myth,” #93: “Revolving Doors,” #140: “Vexillonaire,” or #145: “Octothorpe.”