I don’t remember which Awesome Thing it was that StumbleUpon spat out at me that day — When you get the milk-to-cereal ratio just right maybe — but I stopped Stumbling right there.
This was an interesting site. I browsed the archives, and couldn’t believe what I saw. This man knew me! Every page was something I personally found to be awesome. The smell of rain on a hot sidewalk. Multitasking while brushing your teeth. The sound of a solid crack from a good break in billiards.
How did he know? Or had everybody else silently been enjoying these curious blessings too? If so, why did nobody mention them?
Well, Neil Pasricha mentioned them on 1000 Awesome Things, and the internet rejoiced.
Exactly why we all find it so gratifying to pull a huge gob of lint out of the dryer trap is still mysterious and fascinating to me, and that’s why I’m such a fan. Neil has a keen eye for the unassuming little miracles that bring us all together.
As of today, Neil’s Awesome Things are now in printed form, as The Book of Awesome.
Back in February he and I decided to hold a contest. Send in a question you’d like to ask Neil, and the ones that get chosen get a free, signed copy of The Book of Awesome. I interview Neil with those questions and publish it here on Raptitude.
Well the questions were awesome indeed. And some stellar responses from Neil. Maybe it’s just me, but they seem to hint at something bigger than just celebrity baby names or all-day bedhead.
Thanks to everyone who entered. The winners have been contacted, and here is the interview:
The first question is from Andy, and I’d been wondering it myself:
“Do you already have the 1,000 awesome things noted or are you confident enough in your awesomeness awareness to discover the awesome on the fly?”
First off, I should mention my first idea for the name was 1000000 Awesome Things. You know, with the news all billions of this, millions of that, it just sounded right. But I changed it at the last second to 1000 Awesome Things, and I’m really glad I did.
See, I didn’t exactly do that math, and it wasn’t until a reader emailed me a few weeks into it and said “Buddy, you ain’t gonna finish this thing until 2012” that it actually hit me. Keep in mind this was in June, 2008 that I launched. The idea of writing a post every weekday for four years seemed pretty nuts.
So although I sorta painted out some broad brush-strokes of where I’d like it to go (and by that I mean saved a few handfuls for the finish line) I honestly end up sweating it out most nights before the post goes up. I mean sure, sometimes I’ll write a few in advance, but whenever I do that I always congratulate myself on my brilliant foresight with a solid month of last-minuteness.
“Who is a person who you think, through their actions or attitude, personifies or exemplifies what it means to be awesome?” asks Avi. “I wish I could think of a better question!” he adds.
I dunno, Avi. That seems like a great question to me.
For me awesome is all about 3 A’s.
1) Attitude. Life’s not always pretty — whether it’s buzz saws chopping forests, sea levels rising high, suicide bombers blowing up trains, or unemployment rates zooming sky high, it’s just really heavy. And a lot of us have personal issues on top. I mean, for me over the course the site’s been running I’ve had my best friend take his own life and my wife decide to live hers somewhere else. And I sorta think that we’ve always got an attitude option in dark times: wallow in gloom and doom forever or grieve and face the future with newly sober eyes. Being awesome means you’ve got that moving forward and moving on attitude.
2) Awareness. I love hanging out with three-year-olds. Honestly, I just love the way they see the world — whether it’s staring slack-jawed at their first baseball game, leaning over a caterpillar on the sidewalk, or grabbing a handful of dandelions for the centerpiece at the family dinner. I love how full of wonder they are when they’re seeing the world for the first time. I think being awesome is about seeing the wonder in the little things and just remembering we’re the only species on the only life-giving rock with so many awesome things around us — whether it’s guitar jams, candied hams, foreign architecture, local agriculture, Grandma hugs, or sidewalk slugs.
3) Authenticity. Being you and being cool with it. David’s words on this site always ring true for me on this and I just think it’s so important to being awesome to be comfortable in your own skin. You end up meeting more people who you can relate to, have a great conversation with, and form a connection.
Wait, what was the question again? Oh, right, who’s awesome? That’s easy — Randy “Macho Man” Savage.
“Do you think the world will be a better or worse place in 50 years?” asks Phyllis.
I think it will be better.
One thing that’s really struck me since I’ve started this blog is how many of us out there who want it bad.
We want the world to be better. We want to be better. We want to be better friends, kinder parents, gentler kids, and stronger siblings. We want… to push your car out of the snowbank and cheer when the coconut shrimp’s getting refilled at the buffet. We want to smile… when the cashier opens up a new lane at the grocery store, when we wake up and realize there’s a lot of sleep time left, when we put potato chips on a sandwich.
We love life. We do! We love it. We think it’s pretty cool, you know. And this here Internet’s giving us so many new ways to connect and inspire ourselves into finding like-minded individuals, spurring action, and making the world a better place. Look at this site! I love it. David drops brain-bombs on us at Raptitude, people comment earnestly, and David chimes in with thoughtful responses. It’s a happy community — with other people linking here, printing articles there, or simply learning something new that helps them go along their day and gives them a smile.
We’ve got the power, we’ve got the drive, we’ve got the awesome movement and we’re gonna give it a shot. Three cheers for Raptitude, three cheers for the three book winners, and three big hearty cheers on being absolutely… AWESOME!
Thanks everybody. Take care — great questions, and a ton of fun! Neil.
And there you have it. Raptitude’s readers interview Neil Pasricha. Thanks again to Neil and to everyone who entered the contest. The Book of Awesome is available on Amazon and is 50% off at the moment — enjoy.
Have an awesome Thursday — at least as awesome as vacuuming the carpet and hearing all the tiny rocks go through the hose.
Macho man photo by stalio