With “You Are Awesome,” Neil Pasricha Wants to Help You Build Resilience to Weather the Storms of Life
How well do you deal with the highs and lows that life has to offer? Are you able to keep your head above water when the waves of change, stress, and trauma come rolling in? Or do you feel like you’re practically drowning and just can’t catch your breath? What constitutes trauma is subjective; we each have our own thresholds for what size and type of wave will knock us down. However, the steps to heal trauma, build resilience, and weather the storm are well researched and documented.
In Neil Pasricha’s new book “You Are Awesome: How To Navigate Change, Wrestle With Failure, and Live An Intentional Life,” he writes, “Resilience is a skill we now have in very short supply. Not many of us have been through famines or wars or, let’s be honest, any form of true scarcity.” In a world where social media use, rate of change, and complexity are all increasing, Pasricha suggests the result is a higher prevalence of depression, loneliness, and suicide. He offers that since we haven’t had to experience true hardship, we haven’t developed the skills and emotional bandwidth to navigate (let alone thrive) when challenging situations do arise.
Enter “You Are Awesome,” Pasricha’s latest offering in his “Awesome” series that all started with his award-winning blog, “1000 Awesome Things.” Following on the success of “The Book of Awesome” about gratitude and “The Happiness Equation” about happiness, “You Are Awesome” is all about resilience. In it, he offers nine research- and experience-based tactics to bounce back faster and even better than before a stumble.
The book is written in Pasricha’s signature conversational style, overflowing with positivity and optimism. He offers the solution to build resilience in nine easy steps with catchy and memorable titles like “Shift the Spotlight,” “Reveal to Heal,” “Tell Yourself a Different Story,” and “Lose More to Win More.” Each section is grounded in research and his personal experience, where he illustrates how he (or his parents) have successfully implemented the strategy. Each section also includes very actionable steps that can easily be implemented.
For example, in “Reveal to Heal,” Pasricha talks about the importance of being able to confide in others and release shameful, repetitive, or troublesome thoughts for one’s mental wellbeing. He talks about the popularity of the blog PostSecret.com and about his own positive experiences working with a therapist when navigating the emotional rollercoaster after his divorce. He also recommended a quick and easy daily practice of a “contemporary confession” by answering three questions: “I will let go of… I am grateful for…. I will focus on…”
I found the anecdotes about Pasricha’s parents to be particularly heartwarming. They grew up in India and are models of resilience by thriving in the face of adversity. In the section called “Add a Dot-Dot-Dot,” Pasricha explores the importance of being open to possibilities and not creating a false sense of finality. His mom successfully navigated a number of huge changes in her life (for example, moving from India to Canada to marry a man she’d only met once), by always being open to the possibilities of another new chapter unfolding. She didn’t sit at home lamenting the physical distance between her and family, friends, and a familiar way of life. She didn’t resign herself to being a foreigner in a new land. Instead, she looked for opportunities to explore and create a future for herself. She was open to meeting new neighbours, trying new foods, and even learning how to waltz.
Pasricha’s brevity is refreshing; each chapter is short but impactful. He’s figured out what he wants to say and he doesn’t belabour his points unnecessarily. The book is both accessible and easy to read without being trite.
Sometimes, we need a little help getting through the rough patches in life so things can feel awesome again. Though everyone faces unique struggles and challenges, “You Are Awesome” provides ideas and inspiration on how to navigate them, and maybe come out stronger and happier in the process.
Amy Kellestine is an educator, engineer, Arati life coach and entrepreneur living in Edmonton, Alberta. She spends her free time camping, gardening, and volunteering for causes such as Cystic Fibrosis and nature conservation. She is a devoted mother and is passionate about helping others and writing.