TEDx Talks: ‘The 3 A’s of Awesome’

UPDATED: April 11, 2020
PUBLISHED: September 21, 2016
3 aos of awesome

Neil Pasricha, creator of 1000AwesomeThings.com, is originally from Canada, where he grew up in a neighborhood with nearby schools and hospitals and homes powered by electricity—something his parents didn’t have as children. Before he and his sister were born, his parents traveled from Kenya and India to settle near Toronto in the late ‘60s—a move that required them to leave their comfort zone and begin a new life in an unfamiliar place.

Pasricha says making such a bold transition would have required his parents to live by what he calls the “3 A’s of Awesome”: having a good attitude, a great level of awareness and an authentic personality. In this TEDx Talk, Pasricha talks about the significance of the three A’s and how they helped him grow throughout his life.

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While you can’t always predict the future, you can determine your attitude toward it. Everyone will experience high and low moments, and when things don’t go according to plan, it’s OK to acknowledge how you feel, Pasricha says. Grieving is allowed, but not for too long—the future still awaits.

“There are times in life when you will be tossed in the well, too, with twists in your stomach and with holes in your heart,” he says. “And when that bad news washes over you, and when that pain sponges and soaks in, I just really hope you feel like you”ve always got two choices.”

The two options include either dwelling on the pain or facing the future—and choosing option two requires a great attitude, he says.

Related: 5 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Mindset in 20 Minutes


Learning to embrace your inner 3-year-old can give you a great sense of awareness, Pasricha says. When children see the world, they take in an abundance of sounds, smells and experiences for the first time. As an adult, awareness comes from reflection.

“Being aware is just about remembering that you saw everything you”ve seen for the first time once, too,” Pasricha says. “So there was a time when it was your first time ever hitting a string of green lights on the way home from work… or the first time you pulled a $20 bill out of your old jacket pocket and said, ‘Found money.’ ”


Being authentic leads people to follow their heart, Pasricha says, and when this happens, the places a person goes and the people they meet become enjoyable experiences—all because they designed the life they wanted to live.

“Life is so great that we only get such a short time to experience and enjoy all those tiny little moments that make it so sweet,” he said. “And that moment is right now, and those moments are counting down, and those moments are always, always, always fleeting.”

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TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics—from science to business to global issues—in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world. See more at TED.com.