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Five unexpected learnings from 60 podcasts in 30 days

Whilst recording 60 Grind Academy podcasts in 30 days transpired by accident, I could never have imagined the intriguing, incredibly diverse, sometimes funny, occasionally confronting, collectively life-altering opinions and stories I would discover.

It was blissful ignorance and a seemingly innocuous sole email that created the perfect accident of 60 podcasts in 30 days. Since starting the Grind Academy podcast in January, I had found myself caught in perpetual pursuit of attracting interesting willing guests to join the show. Even when finding a suitable willing participant, it was too often followed by subsequent no-shows' and/or radio silence. The chagrin hours of lost time eventually led me to a wonderful website matching suitable guests with relevant podcast topics. And the kicker was they even offered to feature the Grind Academy podcast in their weekly communication.

I naively jumped at the opportunity and what ensued was, on one hand, pure relief and gratitude, but on the other, entirely overwhelming and frightening. Within an hour of the email being distributed, I was inundated with more than 40 guests', and within 24 hours, more than 100. The theme of ‘Lessons from the academy of life, not taught at school’ had resonated and the podcast now had an abundance – a tsunami - of suitable and interesting, willing guests reaching out.

“The theme of ‘Lessons from the academy of life, not taught at school’ had resonated and the podcast now had an abundance – a tsunami - of suitable and interesting guests reaching out.”

So began a steep learning curve and rollercoaster of podcasting I never dreamed possible a week earlier. My life was put on hold to prepare, record and begin editing the most suitable 60 podcasts. Here are the five key takeaways I took from that unique experience:

1. Our deepest, darkest valley can be our highest, brightest mountain.

I was fortunate to shine a small light on some incredibly remarkable individuals bringing their own brand of authentic magic and beauty to the world. What struck me was the common-thread story of pain, adversity, suffering and trauma (P.A.S.T.) that unscrupulously formed the rungs on their stepladder of life. The more dramatic the P.A.S.T., the higher their stepladder seemed to be.

Take, Nikole Thompson author of 50 Shades of Truth whose successful, normal life took a wrong turn when Nikole and her husband became entangled in hard drugs, first using then selling and eventually manufacturing. As their once comfortable, normal lives rapidly spiraled out of control their construction business dissipated in front of their drug fueled, hazy eyes. Eventually, it all unraveled when Nikole’s husband was sent to prison for 6 years. Meanwhile, Nikole’s life continued to abate further into drug dependency.

Fortunately, Nikole’s husband’s life was turned around in prison finding a new sense of purpose through the lens of religion. Upon release, he returned to his former wife and through love, care and patience, repaired their relationship, restored their family unit and now shares their truth across the United States helping others in similar circumstances. The podcast with Nikole is due to be published on Wed 22nd June 2022.

Then there was Bracha Goetz. Bracha struggled with her weight in her teens and experienced her own P.A.S.T. which fueled her to write 40 children’s educational books ranging from creating joy in healthy foods to understanding the emotions kids feel. I will forever remember Bracha describing an orange with so much joy and enthusiasm that my mouth began watering uncontrollably. Watch Bracha's description of the orange and you will immediately reach for a fruit bowl I guarantee.

Another guest, Cindy, a former colleague from the world of hotels and current social worker, summed it up best by saying, “when pain is in the house, the teacher is in the room”. Suffering is schooling and trauma is a teacher. Pain, adversity, suffering and trauma are all impossible to avoid as we travel through the journey of life from birth to death. The challenge presented is how we react and learn from our P.A.S.T.. Many of my guests used their P.A.S.T. to fuel their passion for service to others. Their P.A.S.T. has become the ‘why or why not’ in their life – their motivating purpose. When we look beyond what we lose from our P.A.S.T. and focus on what we gain, pure magic is born and the P.A.S.T. becomes the greatest teacher for our future destiny.

2. Magic can reveal itself when we move beyond our prejudices.

I truly began to understand the cliché saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover” the day I interviewed Dorian Wiederholt Kassar. What resulted in one of the most enlightening and memorable podcasts came at the most unsuspecting moment. I was approximately twenty episodes into recording, running low on sleep and feeling a little overwhelmed by the sheer volume of time it took to research and prepare for three podcasts per day. I had noted Dorian was a young guy and I often struggle to form a meaningful connection with Dorian's generation. Still, I prepared my notes and set up the studio, remarking prior to the podcast that I expected this to be a quick recording.

How wrong I was…

Dorian spoke with such clarity and genuine, respectful authority that I began to feel like I was in a coaching session with him – Dorian as the coach and myself as the student. His enthusiasm and energy were infectious and his well-crafted and highly articulate answers to free-flowing questions (nothing was pre-scripted ever) were enlightening beyond his years. I took vigorous notes during all the podcasts, and while I am careful with the use of comparison (comparison is the thief of all joy), my final note best illustrates how bright I believe Dorian's future is:

On the same day, I interviewed Douglas Noll who has developed a method for calming a person in 90 seconds or less, (without fail - ever) and has already seen incredible results in the US prison system. In fact, his program is now being translated and rolled out to prisons all around the world. His message, rooted in relatively new science, is valuable for educators, police, family life, business and so much more.

The episodes featuring Doug and Dorian are both already live and can be found here.

3. What the western world considers most primitive, might be the most progressive.

“I predict a proliferation of futuristic city farms, rooftop and balcony gardens, an explosion of city plots and a complete readjustment of how we mass-produce and exist”

Much of my childhood was spent growing up on a farm. It was a humble existence; my father would grow fresh vegetables, keep chickens, raise livestock, collect rainwater for drinking and pump water from a nearby dam for washing and bathing. To me at the time, the 'Homestead' lifestyle fell short of what other kids at school had leaving a feeling of missing out. Other families had sliced bread from a bag and an electric toaster to prepare it, pasteurized milk from a bottle and an electric kettle to prepare their morning milo (an Australian kids staple), electric heaters and coolers and all the latest comforts available in life at the time.

As an adult, I appreciate how healthy and beneficial the Homestead lifestyle was. I am thankful to my parents for raising us in such a way and my resentment has transformed into eternal gratitude. Homesteading taught us the value of labour and shielded us from all the harmful chemicals and processes used to preserve foods. Preservatives that serve little or no health benefit at all, rather enable longer shelf-life and subsequent mass-production.

While recording 60 podcasts in 30 days, homesteading came up in several contexts. There was Dr John Poothullil who dedicates his life to researching and understanding lifestyle diseases like Type 2 Diabetes. In our podcast (due for release on 29th June), Dr John explained the flawed origins of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and how drug companies, and even doctors, manipulate the message for various reasons. Dr John has written several books challenging medical assumptions and explaining how to reverse lifestyle diseases like Type 2 Diabetes and even Cancer through better lifestyle and eating habits. Habits akin to the homesteading and organic lifestyle I once scorned.

Then there was James Walton, head of the Preppers Broadcasting Network who had very different reasons for the homesteading lifestyle. Before the podcast, I was unaware of preppers, but I have since learned of the Netflix program ‘Doomsday Preppers’ which characterises preppers as paranoid individuals obsessed with apocalyptic events and surviving ‘end of world’ scenarios. On the contrary, I found James to be reasonable, calm, and collected interested only in protecting and providing for his family. The homestead lifestyle is central to the prepper's values if/when ‘shit hits the fan – SHTF’. You can catch the podcast with James here.

I don’t consider myself a conspiracist however it is clear there are environmental, safety and health benefits to ending mass production and unnecessary medical drug dependency. There is a lot of wisdom in learning the basic skills my father used to raise me and my siblings and adapting our lifestyles accordingly. It’s a fact there is also a lot of money involved in the pharmaceutical industry and mass convenience production. Forces therefore exist, that would prefer to prevent adjusting our way of living. Still, I predict a proliferation of futuristic city farms, rooftop and balcony gardens, an explosion of city plots and a complete readjustment of how we mass-produce a