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."

Recent Episodes
Episodes loading...
Recent Reviews
  • dougitect
    Interesting life stories
    I’m always curious to hear the way different people find ways to make life work for them. And I love Maya’s voice!
  • B. Birdell
    Great host!
    Loved the Florence Williams episode. Episode 51 with Kelly Corrigan is so 'right where i am.' Thank you for helping me start to let go of my adult children and to recognize heartache os built into the goal. And we get through it. This episode is a fave❤️
  • Chindian mom
    Relevant and thoughtful
    I just started listening and every single topic feels so very relevant to me as a mom of young kids in her late 30s wrestling with existential questions. I’ve thought about many of these issues in an informal fashion and I appreciate listening to expert voices that are guided in an accessible and thoughtful way by Maya.
  • qwertyuuipasfhk
    You had me until you had to comment on the elections. I am so sick and tired of everything in the USA comes back to who you voted for. Your podcast theme was that there is commonality of people, how we as humans are alike and how we can navigate this life together. I don’t involve who you voted for, right or left, in my relationships. I may continue to listen but since I made a vow to eliminate the division of politics in anything I consume, I am probably out.
  • SadieKen
    Can I have any place to go where someone doesn’t sneak in a political opinion that no one asked for? Yes, Trump was a President. Yes, Biden is now a president. Just stop please.
  • Mememe Ususus
    Maya is the perfect host
    Such brilliant stories. I love how Maya looks at the inflection points in peoples’ lives, and shared the science around how we react to (or create) change. She is smart and endearing. I love hearing these stories.
  • maestrareg
    Nora McInery
    Wow. I have been following Nora for several years and I watched her evolve. This was a beautiful and vulnerable episode. Nora captured grief in a way so few speak of and I am ever so grateful. Maya your work is fantastic. I have lots of incidents on my life where there have been a slight change of plans. It’s so wonderful to be validated with others’ stories too.
  • maybe.babe
    Why do I have to subscribe to Pushkin to listen to this podcast?
    I absolutely love the podcast. I este the podcast a 5 stars. I rate the subscription requirement a one star. I have to pay a yearly subscription to Pushkin Media to listen? Not sure what changed between seasons 1 and 2, but the subscription is just one more thing to have to subscribe to that adds up and becomes very expensive.
  • jvl1010
    Pretty good
    I think it’s pretty good!
  • eagle4139
    I tried …
    If you like moral preening and self-congratulatory babble, this is the podcast for you. In the episode with Adam Grant, one focus is on being aware of and questioning one’s biases, and then host goes on to say that it’s good to feel like an imposter, white men. And then just merrily goes along without even pausing on her own stereotype. I guess there are no introspective white men or white men who can understand where they lack skills or knowledge. The host and her guest then go on to talk about ways to change people’s minds. Notice that the person whose mind needs changing is always someone with a ‘conservative’ position. Never the other way around, because those people are always wrong. They just don’t know it yet. The host and her guest go to express concern about the young people whose parents always told them they were right. Look in the mirror. It then ends as you might predict, with them congratulating each other for their brilliance.
  • User3789
    Please stop moaning while people are speaking
    I like the Podcast and I can see that Maya is trying to acknowledge the people she is listening to with her little moans but it is so distracting. She is trying to show her empathy but instead it sounds a little like she is moaning with pleasure. Please trust your listeners.
  • handywoman999
    Doesn’t Actually Say Anything
    Maya Shankar never actually says anything… like at all. This show is basically a hallmark card lol
  • kaaaaaaaarriiiiii
    I tried to give her chance… As an immigrant myself, I thought she would bring something else to the podcast world since she said that her parents immigrated to the USA; I was mistaken. Her whole personality screams sheltered and privileged. Plus the whole podcast is one big 0bama-is-the-greatest promotion tour. Shallow.
  • sydwms
    Listening to when surviving is enough ep
    I love this podcast so much and this episode is the first one that made me angry. Nora is describing a parent’s worst nightmare and describing how matthew looked at her like an enemy. Matthew had responsibility to make sure their child-any of their children- were made safe. It will never be ok for something like that in that specific situation to have been only nora’s responsibility. Ever.
  • false psychology
    The first responder episode
    Really resonated with me.. as I, too, have PTSD, and identified with her story. Gratitude for the conversation.. I don’t know if many people understand that a trigger can just crush the central nervous system .. as much as I do to mitigate the symptoms, it is difficult to admit my fragility and/or be understood by those closest to us (especially since I don’t want to burden or perceive that I’m burdening another person with the ongoing processing of the traumatic response.)
  • ZACB
    This podcast is cliché, boring, and shallow. It’s actually painful to listen to the host who mistakes cleverness for authenticity and depth. It’s attempting to be profound and is just superficial and boring. The questions are flat. The guests are uninspiring because the host is too limited in her lived experience to ask meaningful questions. I keep trying to give this show a chance but she’s someone who has read books and led a privileged sheltered life making her profoundly boring and uninteresting. It’s like reading a pop psych book. Cringe!
  • KarynClay
    Better for having listened
    This podcast always leaves me feeling better for having listened to it. The ultimate interview was the one with Ruby Bridges. I’m still weeping, it was so touching. Thank you so much for sharing these amazing stories!
  • Cornelius Matteo
    No story telling … must be marketing cause not good.
    Dr. Shankar cant get out of her own way and let the story unfold, talks too much and not story telling … she is part of Pushkin, should at least listen to Gladwell and learn basics of how to tell a story.
  • Pwmoores
    Short and wonderful!
    Perfect bite sized glimpses into change. Inspiring and educational! Especially enjoyed Hillary Clinton.
  • Michelebella1977
    I just finished listening to the Holocaust Survivors Story with Dr. Edith Eger. Edith’s existential experience in Auschwitz is heartbreaking but also so inspiring. Maya Shankar is an amazing conversationalist; she really gets to the depth of people’s souls. This is the first episode of A Slight Change of Plans I’ve listened to, but I can’t wait to listen to every episode.
  • Mulletkitty
    Great to challenge the mind!
  • lcpeebles
    Thank you Maya!
    I am new to listening to this show, I started with a couple episodes and now I’m completely hooked and listening to every single back episode! I’m learning so much and I love hearing another side to things I never thought of, or things I thought I had an opinion of, this is opening my mind and I appreciate all your honesty and insight Maya in every single episode! Thank you for bringing these people into our lives to help us accept change for our own lives!
  • Martiniano
    Brilliant Mind
    It is always a joy, though a rare joy, to hear such a wonderful mind as Maya’s.
  • Rookie ru
    Perfect combination
    Love this podcast! Perfect combination of psychology, cognitive science, emotion and compassion. Keep up the amazing work!
  • Saturn Pony
    Amazing Podcast
    I love this podcast! Maya is so smart and kind and her interview skills bring out the best in her guests. This show is full of inspiration and information. I never miss an episode!
  • Steph Bachi
    Wait for it every week
    Wonderful podcast- loved every single episode so far. Please have Tommy Rivs Puzey as a guest!
  • momclrh2o
    One of the best!
    I am so glad I found this podcast. I learn and crow with each episode. Great interviews with interesting guests.
  • dldnh
    An excellent podcast, always interesting and thought provoking.
  • cjshs49
    Maya, Please listen more to your guests. Allow them the space to speak about their work rather than interrupting and speaking over them with your interpretation. Selection of topics and guests are very interesting. Thanks for listening. My rating is reflective of this interviewing style. Carla
  • InsultingRetard
    A beacon of hope backed by science in a time where hope is what we need. This is such a beautiful thing
  • MC Spats
    Oh no!
    I have been listening for about a month and loving it! Tried listening to the latest episode this morning and got an error message saying that I can no longer listen without a paid subscription. Sad to hear this because I was really enjoying it. Adding a new subscription on top off all others especially when all of my other podcasts are free seems like an odd choice. Will definitely be back for more if this goes back to a platform accessible to all.
  • JMNC
    Topics chosen, agendas, interviews… insufferable.
  • etherdog
    Very white centered and superficial
    There is a lot of white privilege in this podcast. I have listened since the beginning and I can’t recommend.
  • Sanoneill
    One Meditative Story a Day Keeps the Doc Away
    I started listening to meditative story to have something rewarding during the (just about daily) laundry folding). I put it on as background noise initially, not realizing the impact it would grow to have on me. The stories were so rich and meaningful, I realized I wanted to elevate my listening experience so I could pay more attention and internalize what I hoped would be a lesson. Soon, I started pairing listening with a walk in the Oakland hills behind my condo, and it was as of my senses came more alive. What I’ve come to realize is that meditative story brings me closer to humanity as it is indeed see myself reflected in their experiences, and I hope to rekindle or even learn something for the first time. It’s a haven and sometimes a wellspring for intuitive lessons. The music is a great comfort and sometimes, it feels like I can feel the wind on my cheek, even when I’m not walking in the hills. Thank you so very much.
  • butterflies8123
    Love your episodes
    Would love to hear your views on transgenders
  • TS lover!
    Thai Rescue Episode
    Love this episode! This podcast always has great content and really enjoy inspiring stories like this!
  • Ang09090909
    I REALLY WISH U DIDN’T EDIT THE SHOWS TO MAKE THEM SHORTER. I THINK YOU’D BE VERY SURPRISED THAT PEOPLE ACTUALLY WANT LONGER PODCASTS THEY ENJOY! You can’t get past enough of the surface stuff, down to the real meaning of things before the show’s over.
  • kerry816
    Memories Live
    Love this podcast so much. Really aligns with my non-profit, Memories Live memorieslive.org. Storytelling is so important, gets you the essence of who we are and how we got here. Thank you for navigating this so beautifully.
  • PHB2019
    Warm and insightful
    This podcast is a mixture of intimate conversation combined with beautiful and poignant insights about our human condition and how we evolve.
  • Ann-no-e
    Poor judgement
    This episode of the 22 year old sister seems to show such poor judgment on Dr Shankar’s part. It feels exploitive. What was the change of plan? My sister died and I have to change my wedding expectations? She needs time and and therapy-not a tape recorder.
    Super Insightful
    Maya is an incredibly gifted interviewer. She has a unique way of cutting to the heart of the matter and mining it for all its nuance. I look forward to few podcasts as much as I do this one.
  • EMS-29
    Thank you Maya
    Thank you Maya for sharing your story!
  • LBS301
    I did love this Podcast ….
    But it going subscription like so many other podcasts is really disappointing.
  • Photomomcincy
    So good
    I LOVE this podcast. First of all, Maya is a great interviewer. And she is beyond articulate. The storytelling is why I came to this podcast. I love hearing peoples stories. The format is great. Wish the episodes were longer because I can’t get enough. Highly recommend!
  • Oceane Scardovi
    Exactly what I’m looking for
    I started listening to true crime but i don’t really have an interest in crime, i just wanted the premium storytelling. This podcast scratches the itch perfectly! I find a lot of podcasts require you be “in” on a community or have some amount of background knowledge to understand what’s going on, but that has not been the case with this show. The stories I’ve heard so far have been relevant and universal at the same time. Especially the Christine Ha episode had me smiling and feeling so inspired, and the next episode had me sobbing. Genuine storytelling elicits a powerful emotional reaction, and oh boy does this podcast do that. The host is amazing at letting the story unfold naturally, giving the guests an opportunity to speak their truth while guiding the format of the show. Can’t wait to hear the rest of this fantastic podcast! It’s my new favorite!
  • GiaMeg
    Paid for subscription - Still interrupted by commercials!!
    Use your proceeds to update your software! Reimburse your paying clients and listeners!!
  • queenpsays
    New favorite podcast!
    I’m always left in awe with inspiration or moved to tears from every episode of this show. Maya is so gentle and her soft way with words is a beautiful reminder of the strength in empathy and the power it holds to unite us. Thank you for sharing!
  • tsonnyd.
    Great 💛
    Love this podcast. Really cool hearing people’s stories of big changes they had to go through. Some episodes are definitely better than others but overall really great show.
  • Peggidy
    New one??
    When will you have a new episode?
  • TruffleButter87
    Close to home
    Most of the time I have plenty to say(as you all know) For the last few months I have found myself spending hours a day not only listening but I’m also feeling as if I could completely relate and feel what you and your guests would discuss and feel. Just remember one thing….. you’re strong! Use everything you have been blessed with and you will get everything and more. I will always be around for anyone to talk! I have made that promise to a few and intend to always keep it. Brandon. (😢)
Similar Podcasts
Disclaimer: The podcast and artwork on this page are property of the podcast owner, and not endorsed by UP.audio.