In 2011, The Josh Speaks, a widely acclaimed Youtube channel that lends life advice about love, self-esteem, and school, was formed. Creator and in school motivational speaker Josh Rodriguez reaches out to thousands of young adults each week through his channel. Influenced by the philosophies of Mister Roger and Thich Nhat Hanh, Josh advocates self awareness and compassion for one’s self and others.
1) How and why did you decide to launch the channel The Josh Speaks? What was or were your major inspiration/s?
I launched my YouTube channel in 2011 with a focus on providing teens and young adults a place online where they can learn the skills of compassion, mindfulness, and confidence so they can be their best selves. My major inspiration was Mister Rogers. His show, Mister Rogers Neighborhood, helped me realize that what everyone wants to know is that they are worthy of love; in learning that value, I realized how important it was to continue teaching it to others.
2) In our society, many people hold a negative view of millennial, regarding us as self-absorbed, shallow, and spoiled, while several of your videos are directed towards teen and young adults. What do you think of this assessment?
I think the view older generations have of millennials is rooted in their lack of understanding of what they were like when they were young themselves. Teens and young adults, millennials especially, are in the process of discovering who they are.
Being a young adult today comes with its own unique challenges: digital communication overtaking face to face communication, honest and credible information being harder to identify and the pressures of success coupled with student loans are creating a higher standard needed to be met for millennials to consider themselves “successful”.
3) Do you think channels like yours can act as a platform for major social change? Would you describe your work as grassroots activism?
I think my channel can serve as a platform for social change.
I believe that if we can all learn to first love ourselves for who we are, we can then work towards accepting others in turn.
If we can take this approach towards all the different encounters we face, we can change our perceptions to be focused on values that can change the world—the values of kindness, compassion, and forgiveness.
4) What are some of your professional goals or projects for the future?
My goal is to turn my project into something much bigger, an opportunity for young minds that are trying to figure out their path and purpose to help others along the way. I want to also help parents form better relationships with their children, to better understand them and to listen to them with loving kindness. If I can grow my platform and reach people of all ages, then I know I have done all that I can.
5) What are some of the essential major messages you would want readers to take away from your videos?
While many of my videos focus on giving advice to help you manage a certain situation you may be experiencing, I really want people to feel like they are worth being heard and that no question is not worth exploring. I want people to learn that everything is small steps and that as you learn and grow, you have everything you need inside of you to be somebody great.
6) What set of circumstances or situations inspired you to create content for your own channel?
I am inspired daily by the people that message me and leave comments on my videos, sharing their experiences and stories. Nothing is more humbling and empowering than hearing someone open up about wanting to make a change and taking the steps they need to do it. My audience inspires the content I cover and helps direct me where they need to go and towards what they need to learn.