self improvement

A Few Lessons From Shock and Disappointment

Just last week, I did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

My video was more than three minutes long. I didn’t just film myself dumping a bucket of ice and water on me. I had something to say about the nature of the challenge and how some people were making dismissive and even negative comments on it.

You see, my dad died from ALS when I was only 20.

I took up the challenge on my own without being nominated by anybody.

And yep, to be perfectly honest, I was hoping that my message, given where I was coming from would resonate with all of my friends and that they’d be inspired by me.

I also most certainly expected all of those I nominated to take up the challenge.

But alas, although I knew deep down that I couldn’t force others to see eye to eye with me, deeper down, I was very disappointed with a couple of reactions I got.

One friend replied me, “Haha I don’t give a sh*t bro” when I joked with him asking when he was going to do it.

Another friend was all like, “You donated $100? Do you know how much money actually goes to the CEOs bro? Do you know how much actually goes to ALS research? Do you blah blah blah bro?”

I was aghast.

I didn’t think that my own friends would be do dismissive towards something so important to me. I didn’t think they’d believe everything they read on the internet (because reading up on where ALS donations end up at supposedly makes you smarter than the majority who did the challenge.)

Perhaps it has just been me, but then again, it is definitely about me as I can get very sensitive towards expecting others to make what seems to be obviously the correct choice.

That’s the thing about life.

You may think you’re doing the right thing or that you may think you’ve done something so awesome and inspiring that you expect everyone else to know where you’re coming from.

But that’s now how it works in life sometimes.

You may have the best intentions and put in your best effort, but there’re still going to have people who’d find a way to disagree with you, even from people you least expect from.

And the best thing to do is to stop focusing all our energies on them.

Just because a thorn stands out doesn’t mean we should purposely get pricked by it.

If you continuously focus on the negative, you’re only blinding yourself to the good stuff.

And to put it in very harsh terms, that’s entirely your own fault.

It is said that there’re no good or bad things in this world. It’s only your reaction towards them.

The friends who did not want to do the challenge bothered me for a while, but then I decided to just let it go and focus on other good people.

A few days later, another group of friends I’m closer to got together and did the challenge for me right here and here.

Yeah. It really made my day, especially the first video when they said, “We’re doing this in support of our boy Alden.”

People really do care for you and your cause. You just need to cover your ears to block out the noise and remember that that’s all they are, noise.

We shouldn’t have to keep feeling bad just because of a little noise.

I know, it’s cliché advice that we should focus on the positive and not the negative, but if you ask me, I think we’re fully allowed to feel great and as long as we want, just because we can!

I say, milk it. Milk all the positive energy you can. Live it up!

If we’re taught to always analyze and suck it up when it comes to disappointment and obstacles just to craft a few lessons, then I think there’s no reason why we can’t celebrate when something good happens.

Because if we can’t celebrate ourselves, then who’s going to do it for us?

If there was one ultimate lesson to all of this, I’d say that it’s about not playing the victim anymore. You don’t have to be in a position of needing help or a rescue before you realize that people care for you.

You’ve to take charge of your life. You can do anything you want. You might as well point it in the positive direction.

Alden Tan is both a passionate writer and Bboy. He writes honest and real stories at his blog all the time. Check out his free book, 12 Things Happy People Don’t Give a F**k About!


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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