In one month, Neil Pasricha’s life changed. His wife came home and said, “I don’t love you anymore,” and one month later something even more painful happened to Neil. He called his best friend Chris on a Sunday evening and they chatted and laughed about a TV show they were watching. The following morning Neil found out that Chris had committed suicide.
For months, Neil found it difficult to think about anything good in life and needed a way to focus on the positive. So one day after work, he came home and logged onto his computer. He decided to start a blog called “1000 Awesome Things,” where he would write about universal things that we love, but don’t talk about. For example waiters and waitresses that give free refills without us asking, or peeling a hard boiled egg and getting one big chunk of shell off at once. Slowly over time, Neil was able to put himself in a better mood.
At first, no one read his blog except his mother. Gradually he received dozens of hits/day, then hundreds and one day he received a phone call from someone who said he’d won the best blog in the world award. At first he thought this was a scam. “So which African country do you want me to wire my money to?” Neil thought, but when ten agents wanted to represent him for a book deal, this led to the Book of Awesome a year later.
Neil says that what helped him grow was to take a look at life in terms of the 3 A’s.
Attitude: Everyone has highs and lows in life, and when we experience lows we have two choices on how to handle them:
a. Twirl and swirl in gloom and doom forever.
b. Grieve and then chose to move forward, and take baby steps into the future.
We need to focus on the second choice.
Awareness: Three-year-olds have a fascination with “seeing things for the first time.” They love to explore and we need to go back to being a three-year-old again and remember how we felt when we experienced things for the first time. As adults for example, driving and hitting all the green lights, smelling fresh bread being baked, simple things.
Authenticity: This is just about being you and being cool with that. Neil gives the example of the tough football player, Rosy Grier, born in 1932, one of the original Fearsome Four, of the LA Rams, who happened to love needlepoint, and who came out with a book, “Needlepoint for men” after he retired from football.
When you’re authentic, you follow your heart and put yourself in places and situations that you love and enjoy.
How has this changed me? It brought out my desire to explore my local neighborhood with fresh eyes. It made me think about how to get unstuck from a rut.
So last week I decided to visit the Laguna Beach Visitors Bureau ( about ten miles from where I live) and pretended I was a tourist so I could discover new places and events close to me.
- I found Jazz Wednesdays at Hotel Laguna.
- I discovered the Laguna Culinary Arts with classes for cheese lover, pasta lovers, Date night Couple classes in cooking.
- The Sawdust Festival offers Studio Art classes year-round on Saturdays taught by professional art instructors.
- The Laguna Art museum has an exhibit with Noguchi, a Japanese American artist.
- The Laguna College of Art and Design offers financial aid to students (would I qualify I wonder?) and offers a Rodin exhibit in July-September.
I walked around town with my new three-year-old fresh eyes and found treasures, I’d never noticed before.
Sometimes we forget to look around us. There is more that surrounds us than we now.
How do you make your life awesome?
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