(To turn the subtitles on,press play then move your cursor over the screen and click on the drop down which says ‘35 languages’ and choose English.)
Neil Pasricha started the blog 1000 Awesome Things in June 2008. He was going through a tough time and decided to log onto the internet and start a blog.
So many fantastic blogs are started in this way – from a moment of darkness when someone needs to vent, or write about something bothering them, or even just have another avenue of self expression. I started this blog in 2007 because I wanted a space that was about everything – rather than just feminism (I’m a feminist with an ex-feminist blog). Having a blog about everything means that you’re not restricting yourself to just one avenue of self expression. Some people feel like they outgrow their blogs, that they need to start afresh – this is a familiar sight in blogland. I’m glad I started anew with this blog because I can see how my writing and voice has grown from 2007 to now, and I’ve persevered even when I didn’t have much energy.
What I find interesting about Neil Parischa’s talk is that he outlines the idea of the three As of Awesome – Attitude, Awareness and Authenticity, which I think are present in many good blogs.
Attitude – recognising that you will have bad times, and learning to grieve and look towards the future, rather than dwelling and worrying and not moving on, is something that I’ve found blogging and writing help me with. I can write about the past without becoming too wrapped up in what happened, and recognise that there are lessons in pain and darkness, to help you move forward to the future.
Awareness – being aware of your surroundings, of the joy in the little things, noticing things that we take for granted. Blogging helps with this too. A lot of people write about everyday things, about the meaning in small things, that give us a greater appreciation of life.
Authenticity – being you and being cool with that. Being true to yourself and doing the things you love doing encourages you to live your life fully. There are blogs about all kind of things, and I love coming across blogs that are full of joy, whether they are about writing, food, crafting, fashion, books, films – whatever. If you love what you do and do what you love – you will find yourself, like Neil Parischa says, living a life that is ‘rich and satisfying’, and ‘truly awesome.’
It can be hard to practice all of these, just as it can be hard to put the idea of positivity into action. It can be just as difficult to ‘think positive’ as it is to break a habit, if you’re not a naturally positive person. My sister has always felt that being positive is about seeing both the negative and positive, but choosing the positive instead – it isn’t being naïve and wilfully ignoring the possibility of catastrophe. You can be realistic, but also be positive.
Realistic, again, isn’t about saying no to dreaming or happiness, it’s just having a bit of a plan, or being a little bit practical about how to get things done. In some ways, the idea of awareness and attitude remind me of having a clear-sighted view of the world – being aware of what is happening around you (and in the world), but choosing to do something or make something that is authentic to you, rather than worrying, feeling negativity paralyse you, or being cynical about what we can do to change things.
I’m guilty of all of these things on occasion, especially worrying, it runs in the family. Perhaps worrying is a stressful and unproductive version of awareness and attitude – a twisted version of trying to see into the future and instead of seeing possibility, focusing on the worst case scenario. To get past worry, my cure is to write it out, talk it over with someone or do something productive and absorbing instead. Or popping over to TED talks and watching something inspiring.
Cynicism is a little harder. It is really easy to be cynical, because there is so much bad happening in the world, that it gets overwhelming. It is easy to say ‘well that’s the way its always going to be’, and feel that there is nothing that can be done. That there is nothing you can do to make a difference. Or that you’re too old, or too young, or not experienced enough to do what you’ve always wanted to do. There is always a ‘but’ or ‘I can’t’.
Stepping out of cynicism, again, is about attitude. You do have a choice about what to focus on, no matter how hard it is to step away from the negativity. For me, the first step has always been the hardest – the blank page, the cold morning, the lack of energy – there is always an excuse. Yet after that first step – the first sentence, the free art gallery, the walk in the woods – the rest of it comes together. Every small step leads to another. Believe me, all the people doing amazing and creative things started from nothing once.
‘You will never be as young as you are right now. And that’s why I believe that if you live your life with a great attitude, choosing to move forward and move on whenever life deals you a blow, living with a sense of awareness of the world around you, embracing your inner three year-old and seeing the tiny joys that make life so sweet and being authentic to yourself, being you and being cool with that, letting your heart lead you and putting yourself in experiences that satisfy you, then I think you’ll live a life that is rich and is satisfying, and I think you’ll live a life that is truly awesome.’ – Neil Parischa.