My name is Neil and you’ve stumbled on my blog 1000 Awesome Things.
I wrote an entry on this site for 1000 straight weekdays from 2008 to 2012 while processing the loss of my marriage and a close friend. This blog was my home, my community, and in a lot of ways, my therapy. After this post went viral, the site exploded and won Best Blog in the World two years in a row, scoring over 50 million hits, turning into a series of books, and getting me invited to do a TED Talk, speak to royal families, and travel around the world talking about the power of optimism.
Although it sounds exotic and sexy, it honestly became too much. I lost forty pounds due to stress and wasn’t eating or sleeping well during this time. I was processing those losses and working a full-time job at Walmart the whole time — writing every night, writing every weekend, saying no to every invitation, relationship, and “outside the blog” opportunity that came my way. Eventually, I wised up and shifted from observing simple pleasures to simply living them. I started saying yes. I started dating again. I started reconnecting. And I eventually met someone new.
Leslie is a public school teacher in Toronto and we slowly fell in love, started dating, moved into together, and got married — and then on the flight home from our honeymoon (on the actual airplane) she told me she was pregnant. That got me writing again! For the next nine months I wrote a 300-page letter to my unborn child on how to live a happy life. I knew it wasn’t related to success. I had success! And seen many successful people. But I knew I wasn’t necessarily happy and neither were they. That letter became my new book The Happiness Equation which came out this year.
Now in my life I’m focused on new projects like The Institute for Global Happiness, speaking about positive mindset, and most importantly, raising a family with Leslie. As I write this our first son is two years old and we just welcomed our second son into the world. This is all why a few months ago I decided to finally quit my job at Walmart and live by the adage: “The longer you hold your breath under water the more interesting place you’ll come up.”
Thanks for reading,