What are you listening to right now? What’s on your phone? What’s in your disk-changer (if you still have one of those dinosaurs)? Is it helping you or hurting you? Is it feeding your brain?
I love listening to music–darn near addicted. But for the past five years I’ve been on a steady diet of audios–podcasts, lectures, sermons and motivational talks. And I love it. Here’s why that’s my favourite way to learn.
1. I can multitask.
As a borderline workaholic, I love to be able to accomplish two things at once. I can prepare dinner while learning about the history of Great Britain—a workaholic nerd’s dream. The kitchen becomes a classroom, the car becomes a university on wheels, and the bathroom becomes a church. Getting preached at while I put on mascara? Oh yes. Unlike reading, which requires having eyes on the page, audio learning just requires having your stereo (or phone) in earshot. This kills the “I don’t have time” excuse.
2. It’s cheap and effective.
Let’s compare, shall we? I subscribe to a fifty-dollar CD and book package that sends me four CD’s a month on various topics. I’ve received this, or something similar, for almost five years. Let’s say I’ve spent three grand on audios over the last five years, give or take. I also get three free podcasts a week. 16 audios a month for around fifty bucks, and I listen to them more than once.
I spent two years in college to receive a diploma. It was a small private school where the tuition is partially subsidized by donations. This cost me about 15,000.
Both were well worth their while, but I learned about the same thing in each–History, economics, politics, leadership, success principles, personal development, time management, financial management, principles for a good marriage, principles for parenting, psychology, theology, communication, philosophy, apologetics, and science.
And the audio learning didn’t require a loan, or quitting my job.
3. It refreshes my mind.
I’m a consummate over-thinker. When I’m worrying or just plain in a funk, I need something to shut me up. I’ve found that if I pop in a CD or put on a podcast, it shuts out my negative self-talk and invigorates my mind. After listening I am ready to take on the next task—and if I’m not, I’ve at least accomplished something. But this only works if it’s a positive audio. If it’s some negative, crass, or ‘brain-candy’ type thing, it probably won’t work.
Where to Start?
Pick stuff that interests you and challenges you. Pick stuff that will help in your area of expertise, or is in a field you’d like to improve in. I also recommend a steady diet of personal development material from sources who have the results that prove they know their stuff.
Here are a few ideas:
The LIFE audio series, by LIFE Leadership:
LIFE produces audios on the themes of the “8 F’s” (Faith, Family, Finance, Fitness, Friends, Freedom, Following and Fun), taught by successful business and social leaders. Relatable, engaging and entertaining. Cost: roughly 50.00 per month for 4 CD’s and one book.
The British History Podcast: Produced by Jamie Jeffers, a former attorney who presents the history of Great Britain with a conversational, witty style and doesn’t hesitate to buck tradition. This is NOT your high school history class. Cost: free podcast, with optional membership for bonus content (5.00 per month).
Ravi Zacharias, “Let My People Think”: Author and apologist, Ravi Zacharias, and guests discuss living and defending a Christian worldview in a hostile environment. Ravi is humble and soft-spoken, but his brilliance shines through. Free podcasts.
Focus on the Family Radio Theatres: Movie-quality sound, original scores and full casts bring classic novels and original stories to life. My personal favorites are the Chronicles of Narnia. Other titles include Ben Hur and Les Miserables. Available through iTunes. Cost: 4.99 to 25.99 per title.
Give it a go. Try one per week. Try a few different audios. I bet it will grow on you.