Neil Pasricha is a guy from Canada.

His parents were immigrants from India. He had a good life, as his parents raised him in an environment unlike their own, which was one of stark poverty. He enjoyed middle class status in North America that included birthday parties and McDonald’s hamburgers.

Over time, he got an education. He got married. He was living the life.

Then, things turned bad for him in 2008-2009. His wife told him she didn’t love him anymore. He lost a close friend to suicide.

As the heaviness crowded him out, he began searching for something to dispel the clouds around him. He decided to write a blog called 1,000 Awesome Things.

The blog focused on all the little things he enjoyed daily and took for granted. He kept a written record of one good thing a day.

This new bent of optimism caught on. Thousands began reading his blog. He turned it into a book. Now he’s out making speeches reminding people that things don’t always turn out the way they hope, and then further encourages them to keep living an awesome life.

He says there are three A’s to Awesome:

  • Attitude. Pasricha believes that when bad things happen, you can either twirl in despair or decide to step ahead. Sober, sure. Realistic, sure. But forward nonetheless.
  • Awareness. Pasricha uses three-year-olds as an illustration. He says the neat thing about young children is that they are experiencing so many things for the first time. He believes we miss out on an awesome life when we become dull to the blessings around us.
  • Authentic. Pasricha says that so many folks don’t pursue the things they are genuinely interested in doing. He inspires folks to stop doing what they don’t feel is their thing and to explore their authentic desires.

At the end of his speech, he reminded the audience that life is limited and rare, stating we’d never be as young as we are right now. He encouraged everyone to be intentional about what attitudes they adopt. To be intentionally aware of the true blessings around us and to be authentic about what we choose to do. All those things, he said, lead to a rich life.

And I think he may be on to something.