Neil Pasricha: The 3 A’s of Awesome at TEDxToronto (Full Transcript)

They were tough football players doing what they love, which was crushing skulls and separating shoulders on the football field.

But Rosey Grier also had another passion. In his deeply authentic self, he also loved needlepoint. He loved knitting. He said that it calmed him down, it relaxed him, it took away his fear of flying and helped him meet chicks. That’s what he said.

I mean, he loved it so much that, after he retired from the NFL, he started joining clubs. And he even put out a book called “Rosey Grier’s Needlepoint for Men.” It’s a great cover.

If you notice, he’s actually needlepointing his own face. And so what I love about this story is that Rosey Grier is just such an authentic person, and that’s what authenticity is all about. It’s just about being you and being cool with that.

And I think when you’re authentic, you end up following your heart, and you put yourself in places and situations and in conversations that you love and that you enjoy.

You meet people that you like talking to. You go places you’ve dreamt about. And you end up following your heart and feeling very fulfilled.

So those are the three A’s.

For the closing thought, I want to take you all the way back to my parents coming to Canada. I don’t know what it would feel like coming to a new country when you’re in your mid-20s. I don’t know, because I never did it, but I would imagine that it would take a great attitude.

I would imagine that you’d have to be pretty aware of your surroundings and appreciating the small wonders that you’re starting to see in your new world.

And I think you’d have to be really authentic, you’d have to be really true to yourself in order to get through what you’re being exposed to.

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I’d like to pause my TEDTalk for about 10 seconds right now, because you don’t get many opportunities in life to do something like this, and my parents are sitting in the front row. So I wanted to ask them to, if they don’t mind, stand up. And I just wanted to say thank you to you guys.

When I was growing up, my dad used to love telling the story of his first day in Canada. And it’s a great story, because what happened was he got off the plane at the Toronto airport, and he was welcomed by a non-profit group, which I’m sure someone in this room runs.

And this non-profit group had a big welcoming lunch for all the new immigrants to Canada. And my dad says he got off the plane and he went to this lunch and there was this huge spread. There was bread, there was those little, mini dill pickles, there was olives, those little white onions.

There was rolled up turkey cold cuts, rolled up ham cold cuts, rolled up roast beef cold cuts and little cubes of cheese. There was tuna salad sandwiches and egg salad sandwiches and salmon salad sandwiches.

There was lasagna, there was casseroles, there was brownies, there was butter tarts, and there was pies, lots and lots of pies.

And when my dad tells the story, he says, “The craziest thing was, I’d never seen any of that before, except bread. I didn’t know what was meat, what was vegetarian. I was eating olives with pie. I just couldn’t believe how many things you can get here.”

When I was five years old, my dad used to take me grocery shopping, and he would stare in wonder at the little stickers that are on the fruits and vegetables. He would say, “Look, can you believe they have a mango here from Mexico? They’ve got an apple here from South Africa. Can you believe they’ve got a date from Morocco?”

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He’s like, “Do you know where Morocco even is?”

And I’d say, “I’m five. I don’t even know where I am. Is this A&P?”

And he’d say, “I don’t know where Morocco is either, but let’s find out.”

And so we’d buy the date, and we’d go home. And we’d actually take an atlas off the shelf, and we’d flip through until we found this mysterious country.

And when we did, my dad would say, “Can you believe someone climbed a tree over there, picked this thing off it, put it in a truck, drove it all the way to the docks and then sailed it all the way across the Atlantic Ocean and then put it in another truck and drove that all the way to a tiny grocery store just outside our house, so they could sell it to us for 25 cents?”

And I’d say, “I don’t believe that.”

And he’s like, “I don’t believe it either. Things are amazing. There’s just so many things to be happy about.”

When I stop to think about it, he’s absolutely right. There are so many things to be happy about. We are the only species on the only life-giving rock in the entire universe that we’ve ever seen, capable of experiencing so many of these things.

I mean, we’re the only ones with architecture and agriculture. We’re the only ones with jewelry and democracy. We’ve got airplanes, highway lanes, interior design and horoscope signs. We’ve got fashion magazines, house party scenes. You can watch a horror movie with monsters.

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