How awesome is it to flip to a radio station just as a song you love is starting, to find money you didn’t even know you lost, or to realize it’s Friday when you thought it was Thursday? Neil Pasricha knows something about it. In 2008 he began a special countdown. As he was going trough a difficult time, he started a blog called 1000 Awesome Things about simple pleasures in life.
Three years later, the countdown will come to an end this April. The Canadian author has since published two bestsellers books. His third one was released two months ago. Using his great sense of observation, he writes with humour and a hint of nostalgia. Bet you can’t read his blog without smiling. Metro spoke with him.
How did you get the idea for your blog?
Well, let’s be honest, it’s getting pretty heavy out there. Pull open a newspaper and it's cruise ships tipping over, wars across the world, rising gas prices, and a jobless recovery.
The Books of Awesome are just an escape from the sad news and bad news pouring down everyday. They're a place where global warming, terrorist threats, and US election coverage sits backseat to warm underwear out of the dryer, the cool side of the pillow, and popping bubble wrap.
How many visitors do you have every day and how many readers in total, so far?
The Book of Awesome has been a New York Times Bestseller, #1 International bestseller for 80 weeks, #1 bestselling non-fiction book in Canada for 2010 and 2011.
1000 Awesome Things has won the Webby Award for Best Blog in the world for the past two years. It has over 40 million hits. Over 100,000 people read it each day through the blog, Twitter, and Facebook.
Why do you think it became such a big success, so fast?
I'm the most surprised! Honestly, when I first started 1000 Awesome Things I was excited when my mom forwarded it to my dad and the traffic doubled. Then I was excited when strangers started emailing me and friends and I would say to each other: “You know what’s awesome? When there’s still time left on the parking meter! When cashiers open up new lanes at the grocery store! When you get the milk-to-cereal ratio just right!
I’ve been extremely flattered by all the notes I get from folks around the world. Cancer patients telling me awesome things remind them of how muc joy life really holds. Children writing cute emails telling me they love neighbors with pools and popping Bubble Wrap too and preachers telling me they read from The Book of Awesome in their churches."
I guess maybe these tiny little moments make a big difference in a lot of our rushed, jam-packed lives. Maybe these small moments add up to a big deal at the end of the day.
How is 1000 Awesome Things is different from the other blog/book giving recipes to be happy?
Honestly, it's not! I'm just a guy who for the past four years has written an essay about one awesome thing in life every night before bed. There's not much difference between me and the next guy.
Is your blog somehow therapeutic for you?
Yes, absolutely! When I started writing 1000 Awesome Things I was in a pretty tough place. I was in crumbling marriage and my best friend was on the verge of suicide. Over time I started putting myself in a good mood by writing about the smell of gasoline, new socks day, and finally peeing after holding it forever. Although my marriage didn't last... and my friend very sadly took his own life... I really do feel like focusing on the tiny things in life helped me. I wish life was always smooth sailing for us all but I know most of us will hit our own lumps and bumps, too.
I mean, your boyfriend could leave you, your girlfriend could cheat, your headaches might be more serious than you thought, or your dog could get by a car in the street. All I'm saying is that there will be a time when you're tossed down the well too – with twists in your stomach and holes in your heart – but I really do feel like you've always got two choices.
You can swirl and twirl in gloom and doom forever. Or you can grieve... and face the future with newly sober eyes. Focusing on awesome things is choosing option two, it's choosing to move forward and move on whenever life deals you a blow by simply remembering how great life really is. Nowadays when I hit a string of green lights on my way home from work, sleeping in new bedsheets, or wear warm underwear from out of the dryer, I smile and remember how awesome we have it.
The count-down of the 1000 awesome things will come to an end in 2012, do you already know what’s gonna be # 1?
Ha ha, yes, I do! I haven't told anybody yet though so you'll have to check back on 1000 Awesome Things in April!
Do you have others projects you wish to pursue if you stop updating your blog?
Right now I'm speaking with the publisher about writing a book called "How to live an awesome life".