There are heroes like Terry Fox, who are passionate about a cause that has personally impacted them.
I could not leave knowing these faces and feelings would still exist, even though I would be set free from mine— Terry fox
After his leg was amputated, and he completed 16 months of chemotherapy, Terry Fox, still a kid, decided he wanted to live his life in a way that would help others find courage. He said he wanted to raise money for cancer research because he could not leave (the cancer clinic) knowing these faces and feelings would still exist, even though he would be set free.
Then there are heroes like George Clooney. People who live night-and-day differently from the humans they’re helping; people who can cross a picket line as a planned publicity stunt to draw the world’s attention to the victims of genocide in Darfur. It is however, important to note, that George Clooney spent time in Sudan and saw the humanitarian crises – since 2006 – first hand.
A new kind of hero
But what about Neil Pasricha? He’s a new kind of hero.
Too many catastrophe’s don’t get help until there is a gaping axe wound. This is why there has been so much stigma around mental health. Human nature is such that we most easily understand things we can see. We say, “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
But Neil Pasricha has taken a get-in-early approach to making a difference.
Through his award winning blog turned book(s) Neil has found a way to bring together millions and millions of people to create a community that appreciates the little things in life; things that make every day better. Stuff like:
- When your pet notices you’re in a bad mood and comes to see you
- Wearing new socks
- The first shower you take after not showering for a really long time
His words remind us about the value of priceless experiences.
I’m an Anne of Green Gables enthusiast and I won’t apologize for it. One of my favourite moments is when Diana tells Anne she wishes she was rich and Anne replies:
You know something, Diana? We are rich… Look at that (gestures to the setting sun). You couldn’t enjoy its loveliness more if you had ropes of diamonds.
Neil Pasricha helps build community
Neil Pasricha has found something that we all have in common and used it to connect us. His blog posts are beautiful and funny and true. But most of all they make us feel part of something.
Remembering how lucky we are to be here right now— Neil Pasricha, author
Neil Pasricha helps us pause and appreciate just how awesome life is and reminds us that we’re part of it!
1000 Awesome Things are 1000 shared experiences that draw invisible lines of unity and link us all together.
The final awesome thing in Pasricha’s first book is: “Remembering how lucky we are to be here right now”
Neil Pasricha’s message, cleverly disguised as 1000 Awesome Things, actually gives us a 1000 awesome reasons to want to understand who we are.
Neil Pasricha is an undercover change agent
1000 Awesome Things helps us wake up to so many things there are to be excited about–so many things we’re all excited about! This feeling makes you want to roll up our sleeves and be an active participant.
Neil Pasricha quietly encourages us to become ourselves. He helps us recognize our similarities and discover our differences.
When we feel part of something and learn what we’re good at, it’s natural to want to use it to help others. Communities are made of people who do what they love to do in order to help living things they love.
Neil Pasricha doesn’t tell us to make a difference, he shows us why we want to.
The SOMEBODY Project
At the back of Who Is NOBODY?’s new book: The SOMEBODY Project I wrote:
What’s getting in the way of your students reaching their potential?
It’s a round about way of saying we need to find out what’s stopping people from connecting with others to help in personally meaningful ways. We need to peel back another layer and understand how to empower the army of people who exist on this planet to be active citizens.
How can we support youth in discovering who they are?
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure— Benjamin Franklin, a Founding Father of the United States
It’s so important to focus on all the organizations and causes that need help and at the same time, give kids a means to build self-esteem.
We need to give young people direction. We need to help them build their identity on their interests and how they use them–rather than focus on superficial achievements or look to others for approval (and all the dark places these approaches to “feeling good” can take them).
Supporting community and youth aren’t so separate. In fact, they need each other! Giving young people the experience of using their interests to help organizations and causes they’re interested in, helps both vulnerable groups become better.
1000 Awesome Things supports all the above
Each of Neil Pasricha’s awesome things helps us realize we’re part of everything else going on beyond ourselves. Each awesome thing reminds us we’re connected by the common and priceless experiences that have proved – by being a bestseller for 200 weeks over 8 consecutive years – to glue us all together. This sense of belonging encourages us to find a sense of purpose.
While we have many similar experiences, we fit in by being different. And we can use our differences to make a difference.
And for that, we thank our hidden hero, Neil Pasricha.
Just before I go I wanted to tell you about an awesome thing that happened to me:
Leaving Chapters with a couple copies of The Book of Awesome and then bumping into Neil Pasricha in the candy isle of a store near by! Having him graciously sign both copies, with bubble letters no less, and then tell my friends Nick and Alex they’re awesome in his dedication. He’d just come from watching a movie. Thus, confirming his trip down the candy isle was not for contraband. (See 1000 Awesome Things #678)
Please watch the video below to which one person comments: ‘is the shortest 18 minutes of your life’:
Change starts with kids.