Procrastination and laziness plague us all at times. No matter how desirable our goals, sometimes, well, TV is great! Luckily, man is not left to his own ability to kick-start his engine. One of our favorite ways to get motivated is to listen to a podcast. Okay, not any podcast, because as much as we love S-Town and Missing Richard Simmons, neither is going to do more than entertain us. But some podcasts are produced to inspire. Each of the following podcasts makes us want to work harder, take chances, and generally follow through on our dreams. Best of all, you can toss one on in the car, at your desk, or while you’re breaking a sweat at the gym. Here are the 10 best podcasts to listen to when you need a little jump-start.


The One You Feed

The name of this podcast comes from a parable about two warring wolves that exist inside each of us—one representing good and one representing evil. The parable goes that the wolf that wins is the one you feed. So how does that relate to the content of the podcast? Well, producers Eric Zimmer and Chris Forbes bring on guests to discuss how they go about fostering a life of purpose and how they, essentially, feed the good wolf. This leads to inspiring chats about caring for one’s own mind and being and how, in turn, that can help you achieve a level of happiness in life—not in a The Secret sort of way, but in a way that suggests goals and dreams need to be assessed and, perhaps, changed to truly fulfill you. Every episode begins with a short discussion of the parable and launches into a more personal chat from there. If you’re looking to get to the root of what makes you happy and you want a career and life that fulfills you on a deeper level, this is a good place to start. Link


The Tim Ferriss Show

Tim Ferriss is a sort of lifehacker, something you’d already know if you’ve read his collection of bestsellers—The 4-Hour Workweek, The 4-Hour Body, Tools of Titans, and others. Just like with his books, with his podcast he seeks to find the optimal ways to approach different aspects of life, whether that be making money or carving biceps, both of which he can help you with. No matter your goal, Ferriss has a podcast episode for you. Either subscribe or download individually, based on what you’re looking for. Want to spark your creativity? Download “How to Be Creative Like a Motherf*cker,” an episode with Wild author Cheryl Strayed. Have a desire to grow your little business idea into something massive? Check out “Seth Godin on How to Think Small to Go Big.” Recognize your dream and then find the episodes of The Tim Ferriss Show that will help you get there. Listen in and then commence hacking. Link


TED Radio Hour

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) talks have been given for over 30 years. As you can imagine, there’s quite an archive of these inspirational and informative lectures, so finding the ones worth listening to can be exceedingly difficult. Instead of going on a wild goose chase for the talks that will actually resonate with you, allow us to present an alternative. NPR solved this problem with the TED Radio Hour, a podcast that showcases the best talks related to a specific topic every episode. They pick an interesting topic and then dig through the TED backlog until they find the lectures that best address it. Whether your goal is to live a happier life, ease stress and anxiety at the workplace, or eat the kinds of foods that will fuel you best, there’s an episode (or many) for you. Link 


Back to Work

If productivity at work and flying up the corporate ladder are what you seek, Back to Work is the podcast you’re after. From Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin, Back to Work is a podcast devoted to careers. While that might sound bland, we promise you it is not. The duo discuss everything from helpful work tools to self-discipline. The podcast has been going strong for the better part of a decade, which is a testament to its quality. As part of Benjamin’s 5by5 network, which has been affectionately referred to as the “NPR for geeks,” Back to Work gets as specific as finding the perfect pencil but also gets as broad as fueling creativity. We can’t guarantee it will snag you the corner office or a six-figure paycheck, but it sure as hell will help. Link


Start With Why

This is kind of an odd selection because this podcast was produced incredibly sporadically until early last year when it met its demise. It’s also a bit confusing. We’ll explain. Simon Sinek is an incredibly engaging speaker who discusses leadership and success. He met a bit of viral fame after this video made the rounds and was viewed over 6 million times. He also offers a course called “Start With Why” on his website, which you can take for a cool $129. Where are we going with all of this? Well, this podcast is about that course. Yeah, like we said, it’s a bit weird. That said, if you took the course or read Sinek’s books this is a great companion. Or better, if you didn’t take the course, this is a slick way to steal some of the knowledge without dropping the cash. Two members of the Start With Why team hosted the podcast and interviewed people who put Sinek’s ideas into practice. If you’re looking for your purpose and digging to find what inspires you, his course may be worth it. If you’re kind curious, well, this sucker is free. Link


The Joe Rogan Experience

A caveat: The Joe Rogan Experience isn’t for everyone. The show has a tendency to go wildly off-track, as Rogan discusses his passions and professions with his weekly guests for hours. So, yes, it more than dabbles in mixed martial arts, stand-up comedy, and the benefits of flotation chambers. But describing it as a podcast about fighting and comedy really obscures the fact that Rogan’s real passion is living a better life, which is evident in every episode, albeit sometimes in blips. He often touches on the benefits of jiu-jitsu, appropriate supplementation, and hobbies that can set you up for a lifetime of excellence. He waxes poetic on bettering yourself and understanding your true purpose. Sometimes these ramblings become fodder for YouTube videos. Guests often discuss optimal health and spirituality. Yeah, there’s talk about what Conor McGregor did in his last title defense and doing bits at the Laugh Factory, but there’s also a ton of motivational moments that are worth holding out for. Link


How I Built This

NPR has a treasure trove of incredible podcasts under its arm and few are better than How I Built This, a show hosted by Guy Raz, a name you’re probably familiar with if you listen to your NPR affiliate often. In the podcast, Raz chats with entrepreneurs, innovators, and creative types to explore—as the show’s name suggests—how they built their company, brand, or product. You’ll hear from founders of companies you’re no-doubt familiar with—5-Hour Energy, Atari, Crate & Barrel—along with smaller upstarts that might feel a bit more relatable. You’ll be shocked at how many of these entrepreneurs found themselves in the exact spot you’re in, only their drive and dedication willed their idea to succeed. If you have a supposed million-dollar idea and need a little inspiration, this is where it’s at. Link


The James Altucher Show

While we’re on the topic of entrepreneurs and driven professionals, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention The James Altucher Show. Altucher, if you’re not familiar, is an author who’s penned a slew of modern-day self-improvement books. While there are a lot of people writing books of this type nowadays, Altucher is one of the most prolific, and his podcast is really an extension of his writing, only instead of just sharing his ideas, he brings on other clever minds and explores topics with them. Some of the names you’ll be familiar with—Tony Robbins, the aforementioned Tim Ferriss—but many you won’t be, and we often find Altucher at his best when he’s talking with someone who’s fascinating story is not very well known. You’ll learn about succeeding at writing, at investing, and at a million other things. Altucher provides refreshingly bizarre advice at times, which is far better than getting the same tired responses. For example, when talking about improving your writing, he could say things like “Write more” and “Write what you know,” and he kinda does, but he mixes those fairly well-known pieces of advice in with things like “Take a huge bowel movement every day.” Hey, don’t look at us; he said it.  Link


Take a Knee

Adam Carolla, despite best remembered by most as part of The Man Show duo, and the one who didn’t go on to host a highly successful late night TV program, has found a nice career in the podcast game. He’s done a lot of them, but for this list, the one you’re after is Take a Knee, his podcast about all things success. The title is obviously in reference to what a football coach might say right before a pep talk, asking his players to take a knee and listen up, and Carolla follows that idea by bringing on guests who, in a sense, give a life and career pep talk. How did they get from where they were to where they are now? Are there tips applicable to the average Joe? Carolla makes the show enjoyable to listen to and you’ll pull some solid nuggets of wisdom from every episode. Pull off your helmet, grab a Gatorade, and take a knee. Link


Bulletproof Radio

Confession: We tried to get into Bulletproof Coffee a few years back around the Cool Material office. While we didn’t buy the Dave Asprey-branded stuff, we did mix our coffee with quality butter and XCT Oil. We can’t say whether it works well, because, well, we really couldn’t get into the taste. That said, we do believe Asprey is a clever innovator and lifehacker with some smarts. Proof of that can be found in his podcast, Bulletproof Radio. Similar to The Tim Ferriss ShowBulletproof Radio is focused on clever shortcuts to a better life, whether that means the right combo of supplements, brain exercises to keep you sharp, or one of the hundreds of other hacks Asprey and his guests present. Dig through the nearly 400 episode back catalog and you’ll find many focused on health and wellness along with career advancement and personal success. We’re just not sure about the coffee. Link

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