The Examined Life

Kenneth Primrose

The Examined Life podcast explores the questions we should be asking ourselves with a range of leading thinkers. Each episode features a different interview, and appeals to those interested in wisdom, personal development, and what it might mean to live a good life. Topics vary from discussing the role of dopamine mining and status anxiety, to exploring the science of awe and attention.

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Society & CultureSociety & Culture


Todd Kashtan - What are the best ways to be influential when lacking power and status?
Jul 9 2024
Todd Kashtan - What are the best ways to be influential when lacking power and status?
Show links:Todd's website -'s Substack -'s Substack - Life youtube channel - if the most influential voices in our society are those often left unheard? In this episode, I sit down with Todd Kashdan, a psychology professor at George Mason University and the mind behind "The Art of Insubordination," to unravel the complexities of influence and dissent. We begin by discussing how individuals with little power, status, or majority support can still make a significant impact. Todd and I explore the significance of offering constructive ideas, no matter how imperfect, and the necessity of ensuring diverse participation in discussions to amplify marginalised voices.Next, we shine a spotlight on the indispensable role of principled dissenters in driving societal progress. Through the inspiring stories of Richard Feynman and Nelson Mandela, we highlight how challenging groupthink is not just courageous but essential for improvement. We dissect whether individualistic or collectivist societies are more conducive to nurturing such brave voices, drawing lessons from Mandela's resilience and leadership within a collectivist context. This chapter delves deep into the sacrifices and personal risks associated with being a change-maker, offering listeners tangible examples of how dissent can lead to monumental shifts.Finally, we navigate the virtues essential for fostering a culture of curiosity and intellectual humility. We discuss the trade-offs one needs to make for a meaningful life, and the importance of creativity, experimentation, and living authentically. We discuss how education systems can nurture or stifle the principled insubordinates of tomorrow and the critical need for inefficiency and curiosity in both educational and professional settings. This episode has practical tips on how you can cultivate the power pave your unique path against societal norms. Special thanks to Todd Kashdan for his invaluable insights.