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A Slight Change of Plans
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A Slight Change of Plans

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You can follow the show at @DrMayaShankar on Instagram.

Apple Podcasts’ Best Show of the Year 2021 Editor's Note: Maya Shankar blends compassionate storytelling with the science of human behavior to help us understand who we are and who we become in the face of a big change. Maya is no stranger to change. “My whole childhood revolved around the violin, but that changed in a moment when I injured my hand playing a single note,” says Shankar, who was studying under Itzhak Perlman at the Juilliard School at the time. “I was forced to try and figure out who I was, and who I could be, without the violin." Maya soon discovered a new path in the field of cognitive science, where she earned her PhD as a Rhodes Scholar studying how and why we change. Her insights into human behavior ultimately led her to create A Slight Change of Plans—Apple Podcasts’ Best Show of the Year in 2021. You’ll hear intimate conversations with people like Tiffany Haddish, Kacey Musgraves, and Riz Ahmed, as well as real-life inspirations, like John Elder Robison, who undergoes experimental brain stimulation to deepen his emotional intelligence, Daryl Davis, a Black jazz musician who inspires hundreds of KKK members to leave the Klan, and Shankar herself, who had her own “slight change of plans” earlier this year. The show also explores the science of change with experts like Adam Grant and Angela Duckworth. "What I love most about this show is that the content is evergreen," says Shankar. "You can listen to episodes in any order and at any time."
104 Episodes
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Psychologist Marisa Franco is an expert on friendship and talks with Maya about research-backed strategies to make new friends, deepen our existing relationships, and navigate friend breakups. This conversation was one of our most popular ones and so we’ve decided to revisit it during a time when it’s been hard to feel connected to others. We’ll be back in March with new episodes!  For more on Marisa's work, check out her book, “Platonic: How the Science of Attachment Can Help You Make—and Keep—Friends." Sign up for Maya's new newsletter here https://bit.ly/41lPqaZ and follow her on instagram @DrMayaShankar.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Our daily habits are the key to reaching our long-term goals, argues writer James Clear. His bestselling book, "Atomic Habits," distills the most compelling research on how to break bad habits and form good ones. He talks with Maya about how our habits shape our identity—for better or worse—and how to design our habits so they actually stick.  To explore more of James' work, including his book and newsletter, check out his website.  Sign up for Maya's new newsletter here https://bit.ly/41lPqaZ and follow her on instagram @DrMayaShankar.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Psychologist Adam Grant stops by to talk with Maya about his new book "Hidden Potential: The Science of Achieving Greater Things." They talk about how to filter out unhelpful feedback, the benefits of imperfectionism, and why we need to give soft skills more respect.  If you enjoyed this episode, check out Adam’s first time on the show: “Adam Grant Thinks Again.” Sign up for Maya's new newsletter here https://bit.ly/41lPqaZ and follow her on instagram @DrMayaShankar.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
When Banafsheh Rashidi gave birth to her daughter, Saba, she immediately conjured up vivid images of Saba's future: passing the driver's test, graduation, and maybe even a wedding. But when Saba received a significant medical diagnosis, Banafsheh's dreams were upended. She talks to Maya about how she redefined success for her family on her own terms. If you enjoyed this conversation, you might enjoy our episode with first responder Christy Warren. She’s another guest who started out as a listener of the show. The episode is called “A First Responder’s Call For Help.” For a behind-the-scenes look at the show, follow @DrMayaShankar on Instagram. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Gretchen Rubin is an author and podcaster with a passion for helping people become happier. One of the biggest lessons she's learned in her decades-long study of the subject is that there's no one-size-fits-all hack to finding happiness. Gretchen talks with Maya about how important it is to tailor our approach based on what she calls the "four tendencies," or personality types. If you enjoyed this episode, try this one from the archive: “The Science of Our Inner Voice” For a behind-the-scenes look at the show, follow @DrMayaShankar on Instagram. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Hal Hershfield is a psychologist who studies the emotional connection we have to our “future selves." He talks with Maya about tactics we can use to strengthen this connection, and why it matters. If you enjoyed this episode, try this one from the archive: “The Science of Self-Compassion” For a behind-the-scenes look at the show, follow @DrMayaShankar on Instagram. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The Coin Toss

The Coin Toss

2023-11-2037:401

Sonia Vallabh had just lost her mother to a rapid, mysterious brain disease. And then, she found out that the disease was genetic. Doctors told her there was a 50-50 chance she had inherited the same rare genetic mutation that killed her mom. Sonia tells Maya how she managed a torturous state of limbo, and how what followed led her to the cutting edge of science. Get involved at https://www.prionalliance.org/ For a behind-the-scenes look at the show, follow @DrMayaShankar on Instagram. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
For an extra dose of awe, we're revisiting our conversation with author Michael Pollan. He chats with Maya about the fascinating science of psychedelics and how plants have the power to change our minds. Michael also gives us a glimpse into his personal experience with psychedelic trips and tries to convince scaredy-cat Maya to give them a try. For a behind-the-scenes look at the show, follow @DrMayaShankar on Instagram. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dr. Shira Gabriel is a psychologist who studies the science of human connection. In recent years she’s turned her attention to collective effervescence, a feeling we get when we experience something transcendent with other people. If you've ever been to a concert or a political rally, you've probably felt this type of awe. Shira explains the many mental health benefits of collective effervescence and why it's easier to seek out than you might think (spoiler alert: you can still experience it even if you don't like big crowds!) If you enjoyed this episode, you might also like our recent interviews with Dacher Keltner and Min Kym. For a behind-the-scenes look at the show, follow @DrMayaShankar on Instagram. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
When world-renowned musician Min Kym first picked up a violin, she knew immediately that it would define her. And it did…until one day, in a London train station, everything changed.  For a behind-the-scenes look at the show, follow @DrMayaShankar on Instagram. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
How Awe Transforms Us

How Awe Transforms Us

2023-10-2336:297

Psychologist Dacher Keltner shares the science behind the mysterious, powerful emotion of awe. He and Maya discuss where we can find awe in our everyday lives, including one common but surprising source. Dacher also explains how awe can boost our well-being and potentially influence psychological traits such as openness and resilience. This is the start of our three-part series on Awe. To learn more about Dacher's work on awe, check out his book "Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How It Can Transform Your Life." And If you enjoyed this episode, try this one from the archive: “How Psychedelics Can Change Our Minds” For a behind-the-scenes look at the show, follow @DrMayaShankar on Instagram. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
We’re back with a new batch of episodes starting October 23. To kick things off, Maya does a deep dive into the emotion of awe. She talks to experts about where to find it, why it matters, and the powerful effects of experiencing it with other people. And, as always, you’ll hear stories about navigating the uncertainty that comes along with change. Maya talks to people fighting insurmountable odds, including a woman forced to grapple with the news that she has a 50-50 chance of carrying a deadly genetic mutation. For a behind-the-scenes look at the show, follow @DrMayaShankar on Instagram. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
While we prepare new episodes to share with you in October, Maya wants to highlight a conversation from the archives with rock climber Tommy Caldwell. Tommy talks to Maya about how a near-death experience unlocked a completely new state of mind. His new mindset propelled him to become one of the greatest rock climbers of all time. If you enjoyed this episode, Maya suggests you check out this one next: “The Thai Cave Rescue”. To get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the show, you can connect with Maya on instagram @DrMayaShankar.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
New episodes are coming your way in October, but in the meantime Maya wanted to share her conversation with renowned chef Christina Ha. When a rare neurological condition left Christine legally blind by age 24, she worried she might never be able to cook again. Her story shows the power of imaginative courage in the face of change. If you enjoyed this episode, you can watch Maya’s TED talk here, which also features Christine’s story. You might also like the episode “The Science of Motivation”. In the meantime, you can connect with Maya on Instagram @DrMayaShankar.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Maya was honored to deliver a commencement address at the Juilliard School earlier this year. As an alumna of the school’s pre-college division, Maya shared three pieces of wisdom with new graduates that she wished she’d known at the time. She thought you might like to hear them too! We’ll be back with new episodes later this October! In the meantime, you can connect with Maya on instagram @DrMayaShankar.  See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The story of John Elder Robison is one of Maya’s favorite episodes and it’s also a top choice in our listener favorites series. John is a gifted sound engineer whose rare ability to understand machines propelled him to work with the likes of Kiss and Diana Ross. But the one thing he always felt was lacking was his ability to understand people emotionally. In an effort to see if he could change that, he volunteered to participate in an experimental brain study.  If you enjoyed this episode, Maya suggests you check out this one next: “Life After Escaping Captivity” We’ll be back with new episodes in the fall. In the meantime, you can connect with Maya on instagram @DrMayaShanker. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
For our listener favorites series, many of you mentioned Amanda Knox’s story. She was just 20 years old when she was found guilty of a crime she did not commit — the murder of her roommate. Amanda spent four years in an Italian prison before she was finally exonerated and allowed to return to her life back home in the U.S. But she soon discovered that that life didn’t exist anymore. If you enjoyed this episode, Maya suggests you check out this one next: “The Woman Who Changed Warlord Joseph Kony’s Mind”  We’ll be back with new episodes in the fall. In the meantime, you can connect with Maya on instagram @DrMayaShanker. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Next in our listeners’ favorite series: Author Daniel Pink teaches us how to transform our relationship with regret so that we can live happier, more fulfilling lives. If you enjoyed this episode, Maya suggests you check out this one next: “Grieving the Man I Thought My Husband Was”  We’ll be back with new episodes in the fall. In the meantime, you can connect with Maya on instagram @DrMayaShanker. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
We’re revisiting some of our listeners’ favorite episodes this summer. We kick off the series with our first ever episode: A conversation with the Black jazz musician Daryl Davis. During a performance, a member of the KKK approached him at a bar and his life took an unexpected turn. He ended up inspiring hundreds of people to leave white supremacist groups. If you enjoyed this episode, Maya suggests you check out this one next: “Leaving a Religious Cult”  We’ll be back with new episodes in the fall. In the meantime, you can connect with Maya on instagram @DrMayaShanker. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Maya was invited to speak at TED's annual conference in Vancouver this year - and her talk is available to watch today! It's called "Why Change is So Scary---and How You Can Unlock its Potential" and you can check it out at go.ted.com/mayashankar.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
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Comments (24)

Terri Marie Mignosa

why do the commercials repeat?

Jan 25th
Reply

Salome Odeny

Insightful Q&A, thanks Dr. Maya! Your podcast opens my mind to parallels between feelings, values, and even retreat experiences with hallucinogens. 🧠🎙️

Aug 26th
Reply

Salome Odeny

Impressive episode! Amanda Knox's openness and Maya's perspective truly highlighted the emotional journey.

Aug 26th
Reply

Aakash Amanat

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Aug 17th
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TheSpiderChick

this is a really thought provoking episode about regret. Unfortunately there's a technical glitch at 37:46 which skips a whole thought. Mr Pink says : "I actually like the technique..." but then it suddenly cuts to Dr Maya speaking. I really wish I knew what technique he was about to describe.

Aug 10th
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Meeae Dienemann

I like this podcast, but one wonders who is the interviewer, Maya or Michael. sounds more like Michael

Dec 28th
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Levi Wekesa

Thank you Maya for this show. It's soul refreshing

Dec 25th
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quietauthentic ebaytriangle

Despite the danger to her own life, she had the guts to speak up and defend what was right. Erika played a crucial role in prosecuting Holmes: https://quordle2.com

Dec 22nd
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ID19619055

Thank you!

Nov 12th
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Robin Blacknell

Incredible interview!

Oct 13th
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Jeevan

🙏🏻😅

Aug 21st
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Bridie Begbie

Such a thoughtful, insightful interviewer. Amazing to hear about the brave personal and medical decisions made in this rescue and the resilience of those being rescued.

Jul 19th
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majopareja

So beautiful and so sad...

May 18th
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King Tee is Free

This man's perspective assumes that you can change racists' perspective with logic. What do you do about the ones who could let him talk until he's blue in the face and then execute him without a second thought? What do you do about the ones who know everything he's saying is true but promote racial division because it benefits them financially? It sounds like he's just been lucky that he hasn't run into the wrong one yet.

Apr 26th
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Ronald Bell

Just as John came to see and feel and experience emotion through the TMS treatment, I too felt a sudden awareness of relating to the Adam and Eve creation story in Genisis of how in our humanness we experience good and evil.

Dec 10th
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Shilan G

Oh my goodness what a great story, it was so inspiring! She is one of the wisest people that I know and has such a big heart. Our world needs more people like her ♥️

Dec 8th
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Mary Mary

this was an amazing talk. thank you both so much

Jul 18th
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Laurie Henson

Girl, you need to stop thinking soo much and stop looking around for things to be unhappy about. You can overcome your addiction. Even without therapy groups. Seems your looking to be felt sorry for. Being an eore. I gained a lot of weight, am older and everyone treats me differently. Exactly the opposite of you. It is what it is. Be glad for better health not focused on weight. Your maki g your one life a miserable one. Start doing for yourself and doing what makes you happy. Live your best life and build great memories! This is too much what your doing to yourself mentally. Look into Dr. Wayne Dyer books and Ram Das. Or audiobooks on them. Congratulations on your successes, BTW. Now go! And don’t look back! 💪🏽👏❤️

Jul 11th
Reply (1)

Debora Meehan

Love the pod cast and Darryl's story was incredibly moving!

Jun 17th
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Jyothish Chandran

Maya, All the best. I am trying to patch up my routine of listening to pod casts after a painful event in my life. This is truly an interesting topic to listen and kick start the day with someone else's life changing events. Truly excited..

Jun 17th
Reply
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