A Slight Change of Plans

A Slight Change of Plans

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."

Episodes

April 22, 2024 23 mins

In part two of Maya’s conversation with writer Suleika Jaouad, they talk about Suleika's epic road trip following her cancer treatments and her friendship with a man who spent half his life on death row. She also shares how she's choosing to live her life in light of a recent diagnosis that's left her in a more uncertain place than ever before.

Sign up for Maya's new newsletter here https://bit.ly/41lPqaZ and follow her on instagr...

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Suleika Jaouad was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia when she was 22 years old. In this special two-part conversation, she talks with Maya about why she sees survival as a creative act, the problem with narratives that frame illness as a "hero’s journey," and the messy space that exists between illness and wellness. 

Sign up for Maya's new newsletter here https://bit.ly/41lPqaZ and follow her on instagram @DrMayaShanka...

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Dr. Becky Kennedy is a clinical psychologist known for her popular parenting advice. She talks with Maya about how shifting to a mindset that children are “good inside” can improve parent-child relationships and make for long-lasting behavior change. Becky explains why her approach can help us navigate all kinds of relationships in our adult lives—with our co-workers, friends, and family members—thanks to simple practices like the ...

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Alison Gopnik is a developmental psychologist who studies childrens' brains. She talks with Maya about how kids' exploratory approach to problem-solving can show us how to better tap into our creative potential.

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.

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April 1, 2024 43 mins

Shortly after Laura Cathcart Robbins had her second child, she developed a crippling anxiety disorder and severe insomnia. Within a few years, she was addicted to sleeping pills. Laura was ashamed because she felt like motherhood came so much more easily to her friends. And so, for years, she kept her addiction a secret. Then one day she reached a breaking point.

If you enjoyed this episode, try this one from the archive: “Jason I...

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We're back with new episodes starting April 1. Brené Brown joins Maya for a fireside chat about their messy, flawed selves. Psychologist Dr. Becky Kennedy reveals a game-changing strategy for fostering better relationships. Plus, we share inspiring stories of change from people weathering difficult transitions, including a writer diagnosed with cancer in her early twenties and a new mom struggling with addiction. Their stories are ...

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We're not great at knowing what makes us happy, says Laurie Santos, host of "The Happiness Lab." Laurie joins Maya for a wide-ranging conversation about the latest happiness research and her favorite happiness-boosting strategies. They also discuss how much of our happiness is hard-wired, if there's such a thing as thinking about happiness too much, and what you should know if you ever feel guilty feeling happy, given the state of ...

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The Happiness Lab’s Dr. Laurie Santos brings together other Pushkin hosts to mark the International Day of Happiness. Revisionist History’s Malcolm Gladwell talks about the benefits of the misery of running in a Canadian winter. Dr. Maya Shankar from A Slight Change of Plans talks about quieting her mental chatter. And Cautionary Tales host Tim Harford surprises everyone with the happiness lessons to be learned from a colonoscopy.

...

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Unexpected change like an accident, an illness, or a relationship that suddenly ends is inevitable -- and disorienting. On this heartfelt and optimistic episode of TED Talks Daily, Maya shares how these challenging moments can inspire transformation, offering three questions to ask when facing uncertainty, so you can let go of rigidity and embrace change. 

TED Talks Daily is a daily podcast that sparks your curiosity. Every weekda...

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February 26, 2024 31 mins

Modupe Akinola is a psychology professor and an expert on stress. Modupe argues that a simple change in our mindset can turn short-term stress into a helpful resource. She walks us through strategies to better understand, and cope with, stress. Enjoy this rebroadcast (and take a few deep breaths while you listen!) and we’ll be back in March with new episodes. 

Sign up for Maya's new newsletter here https://bit.ly/41lPqaZ and follo...

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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, “P...

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February 12, 2024 36 mins

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...

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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 f...

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December 11, 2023 37 mins

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 responde...

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December 4, 2023 30 mins

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 ar...

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November 27, 2023 29 mins

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.

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November 20, 2023 35 mins

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-sce...

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November 13, 2023 37 mins

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 omnys...

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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 tha...

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October 30, 2023 42 mins

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.

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