5 Life Lessons From The Adam Carolla Show Podcast

“Carolla-isms”: Tools For Success

The name Adam Carolla may invoke memories of he and Jimmy Kimmel telling fart jokes to each other with mugs of beer in hand while objectified women jumped on trampolines. Truthfully, it was this preconceived notion of mine stemming from Carolla’s earlier work that kept me away from him throughout my formative young adult years.

Believe me, I am not averse to a good old fashion fart joke in the right mood and context but there seemed to plenty of dudes and shows doing that brand of humor already. I had my fix for all the potty humor I needed and was not looking to double down on it.

My perception of Carolla quickly started to change when I was listening to The Dennis Miller Show, on talk radio, where Adam was a frequent guest. To my surprise, I found Carolla to be extremely witty and humorous. But more importantly, during the more serious moments of the interview, I found him capable of bestowing wisdom to the listeners. Carolla also possessed a clarity of thought on serious and heady topics and was able to express himself accordingly.  

Over time, through the countless hours of talking into the microphone between bouts of sophomoric humor, Adam Carolla has imparted many life lessons through the platform of his podcast The Adam Carolla Show.

Throughout almost every episode, Carolla will casually drop gems of knowledge to his loyal listeners and fans. He broadcasts to his faithful listeners almost as if a common man’s sage.  

One of Adam’s big pet peeves is that when he attempts to give a person, friend, or employee advice, they tend to perceive him as being preachy or condescending. People’s nature, states Carolla, is to take advice or constructive criticism the wrong way.

Their posture often shifts in the face of constructive feedback, beginning to sit stubbornly with their arms becoming crossed. When someone with demonstrated success is offering you some guidance, though, you should listen closely and not externalize the conversation, but rather internalize the advisement being proffered.

With that advice in mind, let us all sit back, relax, and become open-minded to the world of “Carolla-isms”.

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These are 5 Life Lessons From The Adam Carolla Show Podcast:


1. Our Words And Phrasings Matter

One notion that Carolla has asserted recently, has enlightened me personally and opened up my own eyes. I seemed to have dawned upon Adam one day when he was having a bad day and was super busy. His packed schedule and riling emotions were a sign to him that he needed to put many things in his life into a different perspective.  

The notion of and distinction between “I get to” versus “I got to” crystallized in his mind. You know what, he thought, “I GET to” do a podcast and I am fortunate.  Rather than, I have a busy schedule, I am running late, sitting in traffic, and “awe man I GOT to” do a podcast.

It is this simple rephrasing of a small saying that totally flips the outlook on life by 180 degrees. Stating “I am fortunate that I get to…” can gift an individual with a whole new mentality in life.

Rather than “man, I got to go to work today” it should be “man, I am lucky, I get to do a job that enables me to support my family.”  

Who has ever bemoaned having to attend a family function or social event that seems like a chore? Instead of, “I got to go to a party tonight” it should more wisely be looked at as “I am fortunate, I get to go to a party tonight and see some friends and family that I have not seen in a while.”

This seems simple, but in the midst of the hectic, complex nature of our lives it is a perspective that often gets buried by stressors and busyness. Sticking with the simple mantra of “I get to” and foregoing “I got to” in your daily language can truly bring about a paradigm shift in your own life.

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What do these following phrases all have in common?

  • “It’s not my fault”,

  • “Sorry, I did my best”

  • “What do you want from me?”

  • “I triple checked”

  • “I’m being treated unfairly”

  • “I feel threatened”

They all have a similar theme of deflecting from a defensive posture. Many of these phrases are knee jerk reactions when confronted with a mistake or upon doing something wrong.  

If someone makes a mistake or fails miserably at an undertaking and the response is, “I did my best”, then it implies that you are wildly incompetent. Carolla suggests if we do away with reacting in this fashion and rather use the criticism as an opportunity to learn, then the individual will be better off.

The words we chose and phrasings we incorporate in our daily routines matter and the subsequent actions we take can be impacted as well. Adopt a growth mindset and recognize that the words we speak carry meaning and can make an impact well beyond simple communication.

2. Bad Ideas Are Like Fast Food

Adam, with some help from Dr. Drew, crafted the saying that bad ideas are like fast food. Fast food is something that tastes good initially but leaves you feeling lousy afterward. Furthermore, the more you consume it, the more you crave it too.  

Fast food is made with cheap, inferior ingredients and is high in fat content without much nutritional value. Bad ideas, especially in today’s age, are the fast food equivalent of thoughts for our mind according to Carolla and Dr. Drew.  

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Bad ideas are prevalent everywhere especially with the advent of social media. They are easy to obtain and consume at all hours, but ultimately, in the long run, they do not deliver in value and are equally unfulfilling.  

Carolla and Dr. Drew go on to theorize that a good idea may not be as easy to understand as bad one. Good ideas take a little more thinking to comprehend and act upon and perhaps are not as seductive on the surface.

Healthier foods, in sticking with the duo’s analogy, do not necessarily appeal to our cravings as “yummy” or decadent but the discipline in making conscious choices for more nutritious foods pays off tenfold with energy and health benefits.

Bad ideas are everywhere these days and we can easily be seduced by a simple tweet, a sound bite, or crafty meme. Remain steadfast, read books, consume long-form content, and take the time to think on ideas that get presented through trusted resources.

3. No Sugar No Grain

Adam Carolla is a huge follower of the trainer to the stars Vinnie Tortorich. Adam rails against the nutritional conventional wisdom of the past, specifically the food pyramid that was sponsored and propagated by the federal government.

At the top of the pyramid, or bottom rather is several helpings of grains and conversely, we are instructed by the pyramid to limit fats and proteins. The word “fat” was demonized as a dirty word and trusted resources in health and science messaged to the masses that consuming fats would, in turn, make you fat. As Tortorich would explain it is actually the carbohydrates that are making people gain weight or acting as a roadblock for those attempting to lose weight.

While added table sugar is rightfully now identified as a compromising substance to our health, our bodies process bread and pasta in a similar manner with those carbs ultimately being converted into sugars in our bodies after all. Tortorich and Carolla preach a no sugar and no grain lifestyle to optimize for weight management and energy.

By eating items like steak, the fat and protein content in the food will satiate the person and deliver better energy from your diet rather than the fleeting source of energy gained from carbs.  

This is a bit of an oversimplification for the sake of this article but the main thesis here is that Carolla is a big proponent of looking at your diet as a means to improve your life. The food we eat impacts our energy, mood and the level at which we perform our various roles in life.


4. Work for Free

Adam Carolla made his bones in the terrestrial radio world by hooking up with someone who at the time was a mere “Sports Guy” in Jimmy Kimmel. Kimmel was engaging in a celebrity boxing match and Carolla offered to train Jimmy for the event for free.  

Adam explained to Kimmel that he was an aspiring comedian and had hoped to perhaps get on the radio one day as a full-time career. Jimmy’s advice was to do a bit on The Kevin and Bean Show.  

Adam proudly recalls that he did not demand a bunch of money, but rather set out to prove what he was worth and hoped the adoration would come as it was earned.  

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Adam states if you want to do something or work somewhere, especially in the entertainment business, then the best thing to do is show up and work for free. Adam trained Jimmy Kimmel, showed up and did comedy on the radio for free for a while, and the rest is showbiz history.


5. Learn from Successful People

In this ever-increasing contentious society, there is an unhealthy amount of envy and animosity towards wealthy, successful people. Carolla jokes that wealthy people like Mark Cuban show up to basketball games in cargo shorts and flip flops because they do not want to feel the animosity and envy from people due to their success.

Rather, we should hold these people to a high regard because of their work ethic and great ideas that were instrumental to their success. We should look at these folks as examples to follow and revere.  

Most successful people, Adam states, have a fierce drive, toughness, and grit. We should hold these as great values and look up to them. Products like Bill Gates’ Microsoft Windows has given employment opportunities to probably a billion people globally.

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Carolla advises if you ever have the opportunity to have lunch or dinner with a successful person it may be one of the most fortunate moments of your life. And it is not because they are paying for a great meal. Rather, you should offer to pay because the networking opportunities and wisdom that are both imparted from a successful person can be priceless.


Beyond The Laughs

It is easy to tag The Adam Carolla Show as just another humor and bit based comedy podcast show but that would be barely scratching the surface of what Carolla and crew are offering on a daily basis.

There are legitimate life lessons and values for success and character building constantly being espoused amongst the many opportunities for laughter.

The tried and true Carolla fans know this and love this about Adam’s show and that is why it has been and continues to be one of the most critically and commercially acclaimed shows in all the history of podcasting.

Please Comment

Are you a faithful listener of The Adam Carolla Show podcast? What type of inspiration or motivation have you picked up from Adam over the years? Leave a comment. We want to hear from you.