The three A's of Awesome - Part 1 - Neil Pasricha

A. ________I was trying to remind myself of the simple, universal, little pleasures that we all love, but we just don't talk about enough -- things like waiters and waitresses who bring you free refills without asking, being the first table to get called up to the dinner buffet at a wedding, wearing warm underwear from just out of the dryer, or when cashiers open up a new checkout lane at the grocery store and you get to be first in line -- even if you were last at the other line, swoop right in there. (Laughter) B. ________And then I got a phone call, and the voice at the other end of the line said, "You've just won the Best Blog In the World award." I was like, that sounds totally fake. (Laughter) (Applause) Which African country do you want me to wire all my money to? (Laughter) But it turns out, I jumped on a plane, and I ended up walking a red carpet between Sarah Silverman and Jimmy Fallon and Martha Stewart. And I went onstage to accept a Webby award for Best Blog. And the surprise and just the amazement of that was only overshadowed by my return to Toronto, when, in my inbox, 10 literary agents were waiting for me to talk about putting this into a book. Flash-forward to the next year and "The Book of Awesome" has now been number one on the bestseller list for 20 straight weeks. C. ________2008, 2009 were heavy years for me for another reason, too. I was going through a lot of personal problems at the time. My marriage wasn't going well, and we just were growing further and further apart. One day my wife came home from work and summoned the courage, through a lot of tears, to have a very honest conversation. And she said, "I don't love you anymore," and it was one of the most painful things I'd ever heard and certainly the most heartbreaking thing I'd ever heard, until only a month later, when I heard something even more heartbreaking.

D. ________ My sister and I grew up here, and we had quiet, happy childhoods. We had close family, good friends, a quiet street. We grew up taking for granted a lot of the things that my parents couldn't take for granted when they grew up -- things like power always on in our houses, things like schools across the street and hospitals down the road and popsicles in the backyard. We grew up, and we grew older. I went to high school. I graduated. I moved out of the house, I got a job, I found a girl, I settled down -- and I realize it sounds like a bad sitcom or a Cat Stevens' song --(Laughter) E. ________but life was pretty good. Life was pretty good. 2006 was a great year. Under clear blue skies in July in the wine region of Ontario, I got married, surrounded by 150 family and friends. 2007 was a great year. I graduated from school, and I went on a road trip with two of my closest friends. Here's a picture of me and my friend, Chris, on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. We actually saw seals out of our car window, and we pulled over to take a quick picture of them and then blocked them with our giant heads. (Laughter) So you can't actually see them, but it was breathtaking, believe me. (Laughter) F. ________So the Awesome story: It begins about 40 years ago, when my mom and my dad came to Canada. My mom left Nairobi, Kenya. My dad left a small village outside of Amritsar, India. And they got here in the late 1960s. They settled in a shady suburb about an hour east of Toronto, and they settled into a new life. They saw their first dentist, they ate their first hamburger, and they had their first kids.

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G. ________2008 and 2009 were a little tougher. I know that they were tougher for a lot of people, not just me. First of all, the news was so heavy. It's still heavy now, and it was heavy before that, but when you flipped open a newspaper, when you turned on the TV, it was about ice caps melting, wars going on around the world, earthquakes, hurricanes and an economy that was wobbling on the brink of collapse, and then eventually did collapse, and so many of us losing our homes, or our jobs, or our retirements, or our livelihoods. H. _______My friend Chris, who I just showed you a picture of, had been battling mental illness for some time. And for those of you whose lives have been touched by mental illness, you know how challenging it can be. I spoke to him on the phone at 10:30 p.m. on a Sunday night. We talked about the TV show we watched that evening. And Monday morning, I found out that he disappeared. Very sadly, he took his own life. And it was a really heavy time. I. ________And slowly over time, I started putting myself in a better mood. I mean, 50,000 blogs are started a day, and so my blog was just one of those 50,000. And nobody read it except for my mom. Although I should say that my traffic did skyrocket and go up by 100 percent when she forwarded it to my dad. (Laughter) And then I got excited when it started getting tens of hits, and then I started getting excited when it started getting dozens and then hundreds and then thousands and then millions. It started getting bigger and bigger and bigger. J.________And as these dark clouds were circling me, and I was finding it really, really difficult to think of anything good, I said to myself that I really needed a way to focus on the positive somehow. So I came home from work one night, and I logged onto the computer, and I started up a tiny website called 1000awesomethings.com.

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ANSWER KEY:
A. 8 B.10 C. 5 D. 2 E. 3 F. 1 G. 4 H. 6 I. 9 J. 7

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