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How to Fail with Elizabeth Day – The most impactful podcast I listened to in 2020

EVERYONE MUST LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST! I began listening to this at the beginning of lockdown 1.0 and it (amongst many other podcasts, as well as my dear friend The Podcast Coach) inspired me to start my very own podcast: The Diversity of Me; Keeping It Real. Elizabeth Day interviews a plethora of incredibly interesting […]

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EVERYONE MUST LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST!

I began listening to this at the beginning of lockdown 1.0 and it (amongst many other podcasts, as well as my dear friend The Podcast Coach) inspired me to start my very own podcast: The Diversity of Me; Keeping It Real.

Elizabeth Day interviews a plethora of incredibly interesting and diverse guests, from all walks of life, many of whom are known on the world’s stage as either actors, writers, musicians or poets. She gets them to open up in a way they never have done before, because her own honesty is infectious.

Each guests talks about three failures and how these failures have impacted them and their life trajectory. Elizabeth opens with beautifully written (and beautifully spoken) introductions. Every single time, I am lured in to invest up to 45 minutes, sometimes even an hour of my time, without any hesitation, because I know I will learn something from what inevitably turns out to be, an illuminating conversation.

This isn’t a podcast just for women. It’s for EVERYONE. Whilst it’s true that it does showcase women more so than any other gender, I guarantee you will come away with your ‘knowledge bank’ fuller and it will be for the better – no matter who you are.

MY TOP 5 MUST LISTENS

Mo Gawdat

Mo used to be the Chief Business Officer at Google X. Following the death of his son, Ali, who was only 21, he was inspired to write Solve for Happy: Engineer your Path to Joy. He developed the Happiness Equation: “Happiness is greater than or equal to your perception of the events in your life minus your expectation of how your life should be.” How Mo talks about his son is quite emotional. Have tissues at the ready. Elizabeth records another episode with him during lockdown 1.0, upon the request of her listeners, which I’d also recommend.

Nadiya Hussain

I have never watched an episode of The Great British Bake Off but was very happy when Nadiya won, and have been very happy to see her subsequent success. As a British born Bangladeshi woman, she talks about her South Asian origin being steeped in patriarchy, how she wasn’t allowed to go to university, why having an arranged marriage has worked for her, the fear she had having her first child at the age of 20 and what life was like before Bake Off. Nadiya is an inspiration and realises the importance of her ‘showing up’ in the world of publishing and cuisine, so that the next generation of British South Asians have a role model to look up to, where they can see themselves in her.

Alain de Botton

Alain, a philosopher and founder of The School of Life, talks to Elizabeth about three failure concepts rather than choosing personal failures. He talks about how good people with the best of intentions can fail, how failure should be considered the norm and that human beings shouldn’t try to find contentment in the exceptional but in the average (I personally think this is dependent upon the scenario and about having a fine balance between the two). There’s also a bit about what you can learn from your romantic relationships that failed to last. Elizabeth’s listeners made another request during lockdown 1.0 to hear from Alain again, which I’d recommend.

Claudia Rankine

Claudia is an award winning American poet, playwright and essayist of Jamaican descent. Her voice is delightful to listen to, as is what she had to say. She was, of course, incredibly articulate and eloquent with every sentence she spoke. Claudia talks about her life’s work, being married to a man of European ancestral heritage and the importance of actively talking about race as a construct. When speaking of ‘white privilege’ Claudia referred to it as ‘white living’ – because it’s a way of living that isn’t diluted by the everyday fear of being marginalised or even killed. Elizabeth Day writes; “This was, I think, one of the most important conversations I have *ever* had about race.” And I would agree.

Gloria Steinham

OK, so if you don’t know who Gloria Steinham is, first of all, where have you been? Second of all, go and consult your friend Google [other search engines are available] and find out about her. NOW. I’d also recommend watching Mrs. America on BBC iPlayer (if you’re based in the UK), where she is played brilliantly by Rose Byrne. Anyway, as a woman in my mid 30s, I still haven’t decided whether I want children. Gloria has never had children and she talks about this, as well as a whole host of subjects including misogyny, racism, sexism, social injustice and her life’s work. A fascinating listen and one that doesn’t disappoint.

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