It’s been a challenging year, but one bright spot that we’ve come to rely on has been quality content that we know we can turn to when we need it (and boy have we needed it at times!) We asked the ThoughtLeaders team to reflect on the content creators that stood out to them this year and helped to get them through.
If there's one Thought Leader I must thank for his content in 2020 it should be Lucas Brar. As an amateur musician and guitarist who has spent most of his time at home over the past year, I had to find the most enjoyment in front of my computer screen, and thank God Lucas was there.
The level of music is phenomenal, every piece of content is funny and entertaining, with videos that put a smile on your face.
But most importantly, the ability to learn, be educated and improve through a player and creator like Lucas is a real blessing. A great channel for everyone who loves music and good content.
Check out Lucas Brar's YouTube channel here
When lockdown was declared and Covid-19 flooded the news feed of all media platforms, it was really depressing and took a toll on all moods and perspectives. After accepting that lockdown will be a new normal for a long time (especially for the children), we had to divert the negative thoughts. Time to accept the facts and move on. So the children needed to be occupied and they found delight in Ryan's World. The funny thing is even us adults were amused and found it quite interesting. The toys, antics and presentation of it all makes you wish you were young again. It's a channel for all ages of those who are young at heart.
Watch Ryan's World here
To put it nicely, this year has been a rollercoaster. A channel that really helped me get through it all was Odd Tinkering. Maybe it's because the whole world broke and he restored everything. He never speaks in his videos but you can appreciate the attention to detail and his creativity. It is just so satisfying to see the result in the end. As someone who works in this space it reminded me on how important it is to find a niche and own it! I always look forward to seeing a new video popping up and thanks to YouTube I have been introduced to more players in this market. It is crazy how far none verbal content can go. It may be a little cliché however, this year people have spoken way too much and have not done anything so this channel proves to me that actions do speak louder than words. Do yourselves a favor and watch a video or two. Warning: IT IS ADDICTIVE.
Watch Old Tinkering here
If I had to pick one Thought Leader who got me through 2020 it would have to be Brené Brown on her podcast Unlocking Us. This year, we have spent more time indoors and isolated than ever before and it was fascinating to see how people turned to every possible distraction to not have to simply be with themselves. From suddenly getting the urge to bake endless batches of banana bread to becoming a TikTok influencer overnight, we created diversions so we wouldn’t have to sit with our thoughts and just reflect. With this in mind, I found Brené Brown a refreshing reminder to utilize this unprecedented time wisely and see it as an opportunity to get to know my authentic self - turns out I kind of like spending time with her!
Listen to Brené Brown’s Unlocking Us here
2020 has been a strange and challenging year and one of the hardest aspects for me has been the closing of gyms. I was fortunate enough to purchase a sweet sweet set of kettlebells to help me in my fitness journey but not being able to get into the gym and lift made me long for the sessions at the church of iron. In order to fill this void, I have been educating myself more on the the science of lifting weight and Shredded Sports Science has been a channel that has helped me along the way. With their great mix of humor and science-backed fitness, they help me keep up them gainzzz during lockdown.
Check out Shredded Sports Science here
I was trying to think, which podcast in particular should I recommend. Considering there has never been a time in my life where I have listened to this many podcasts, choosing just one was especially difficult. But I’m going to have to go with one of my “oldest pals”, Reply All.
At times they gave me a nice comforting dose of escapism, desperately trying to figure out some obscure song from the 90’s that no one has ever heard of (#158 The Case of the Missing Hit), serious investigating reporting on the disturbing and dark corners of the web (#166 Country of Liars), or simply listening to what other people are going through in these uncertain times. In my opinion, their combination of originality, quality reporting and, most of all, humanity made them my number one go-to listen this year.
Listen to Reply All here
The Office Ladies hands down! Long story short, I've found comfort and a great sense of joy like many people in this world watching the American tv show The Office. This year I was looking for that same comfort but in a different country that didn't have The Office streaming on Netflix! Oh the sacrifices you make when you move abroad am I right?
The Office Ladies was the perfect way to get my much needed doses of comfort and joy by listening to the hilarious behind the scenes stories told by Jenna Fischer (Pam Beesly) and Angela Kinsey (Angela Martin). You'll also hear from their cast mates and writers on the show which is an extreme added value! And so a well-deserved Dundie Award goes to The Office Ladies for keeping my spirits alive in 2020.
Listen to The Office Ladies here
In addition to all the other ways the world changed in 2020, this was the year I became a parent. One month after my baby was born, we went into lockdown. Unable to access the traditional support structures that new parents usually rely on (family, parenting groups, childcare providers etc) naturally I turned to the internet to try and work out how to look after this tiny human. I can’t remember exactly what sleep deprived search brought me to Taking Cara Babies, but she quickly became my parenting guru. Cara is a neonatal nurse, the wife of a pediatrician, and a certified pediatric sleep consultant. Through her blog and Instagram account, she offered the guidance and reassurance that I was looking for. In no time at all, I became a “wake windows” evangelist, my baby was sleeping through the night and I was raving about Cara to anyone who cared to listen!
The podcast that really got me through 2020 was My Brother, My Brother, and Me, featuring Justin, Travis, and Griffin McElroy. These three brothers not only have TONS of amazing content but they also explore various types of media, including podcasts, tv shows, live events, and even graphic novels. Each brother has his own unique sense of humor and you truly feel like you’re eavesdropping on three brothers goofy conversations every time you listen to one of their podcasts. There were plenty of moments that I would burst out laughing while listening to them on the bus, only to be greeted by strange looks from the other passengers.
One of their longest running jokes on the show was that they wanted to be in the second Trolls movie, “Trolls: World Tour” which was supposed to be released in 2020. For about three years they have been making a podcast called The McElroy Brother Will be in Troll World Tour explaining why they want to be in the movie so badly and the exact steps they were taking in order to be in the movie. In March of 2020 they released their final climactic episode, detailing whether they would be in the movie or not. The finale of the season was hilarious and heartwarming, and the second I finished it I made all my friends listen to it as well! If you’re looking for a podcast that will make you laugh out loud on a public bus, I would highly recommend any of McElroy's podcasts.
2020, the year of sparse blessings, was actually the year I discovered that Jack Black had a gaming YouTube channel. "What's good JABLES?" is the good morning greeting I've become accustomed to, as my partner and I make our coffees, bleary-eyed every morning with Jablinski Games YouTube channel on in the background.
There's a reason Jack is so lovable on-screen: because he's a genuinely good person. There's a sort of innocence to his channel, where he plays video games, unboxes cool stuff with his 2 (reluctant) teen sons, and shows off his skating and biking "skills", all the while making fun of himself and the world around him.
I feel like I'm part of the family, sitting with Jack watching him muddle through Red Dead Redemption - as a gamer myself, I love Jack's mental commentary while playing the game, and it comforts me to know that even TV stars struggle to win in the videogame world.
10/10 would recommend, and here's a quick clip to get you thinking just how much you've been missing Jack in your life:
Watch Jack Black on TikTok here
swiftlessons is my creator that got me through 2020. When the pandemic hit and we started going into lockdown, I decided that I badly needed a “hobby”. That was something that I never really had before Covid. My days were filled with work and my evenings filled with meeting friends. I spent very little time outside of that on activities that I could do by myself.
I decided I wanted to learn to play guitar, and quickly turned to YouTube for tutorials and lessons. Rob Swift of swiftlessons was the stand-out channel for me. While there are a bunch of other great creators teaching guitar, his channel is at the absolute top. He knows how to break down a complicated song into something manageable for beginners, without losing the intricacies that make the song special. He also does a great job diving into music theory and making it accessible.
I’ve been following Rob’s channel closely since March, and I’ve even subscribed to his Patreon to support him. Every time I get a notification that he’s put a new video, it makes my day a little bit better.
Subscribe to swiftlessons here
During the middle of COVID, when everyone was going crazy locked up in our tiny Tel Aviv apartments, my friend introduced me to the Almost 30 podcast. Lindsey and Krista were the people I needed in my life. Their conversations about super relatable content from topics on self-development to mental health and wellness during COVID… it was what I needed to get me to a healthy mental state during this pandemic. Since then, I always tuned it to their podcast for words of wisdom, and learn from how they are so assertive and girlboss-like. After 7 months of listening to Almost 30, I really look up to them as real people as real role models that share to the world their vulnerabilities and re-assure that the highs and lows in life are NORMAL.
Listen to Almost 30 here.
Few civilizations evoke the imagination like India. In the History of India podcast, Kit Patrick immerses his listeners into the ancient history of India from the 6th century onwards, navigating the society, religion and politics interwoven with parables brought to life with the unique sounds of the music of India. Nothing can be further removed from the trials and tribulations of the stuttering 20s.
Listen to The History of India here.