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7 Important Things You Shouldn’t Ignore When Accepting The Ice Bucket Challenge

7 Important Things You Shouldn’t Ignore When Accepting The Ice Bucket Challenge

Ice bucket challenge fever is sweeping the country. People are dumping buckets of ice water over their heads in record numbers. There are those taking simple videos on their cell phone cameras or, like some celebrities, going all out for the challenge. It’s a fun thing to do but don’t forget what the ice bucket challenge is really about! Here are some important things to remember when accepting the ice bucket challenge.

1. It isn’t about you, it’s about ALS

The whole point of the ice bucket challenge is to raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. You may know it as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. It’s a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the nerves, the brain, and the spine. People who have ALS slowly lose motor function over time. It usually starts in their legs and hands and gradually works its way inward. There is no cure for ALS and it is eventually fatal. The sole intention of the ice bucket challenge is to raise awareness of ALS and to get people to donate to ALS research so they can find a cure. It’s not a fad that you’re doing for fun. It’s a cause that you’re being a part of. When Charlie Sheen is a shining example of what to do and Hugh Jackman isn’t, you know something isn’t right.

2. When you take the ice bucket challenge, you’re supposed to donate to charity

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    Perhaps the worst part of the ALS ice bucket challenge are people who do it and don’t donate. What’s the point of dumping a bucket of water on your head and nominating other people to do it if you’re not giving to the cause? It’s kind of like going to a fundraiser, eating all the food, and then leaving without raising any funds. It’s a cop out. A fundraising endeavor that goes viral like this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a serious disease to get some serious funding. Don’t wimp out on donating because you’re a cheapskate. You’ll make back that $25 on your next paycheck. If you’re doing the ice bucket challenge and you’re not donating, you’re doing it wrong. To donate, click here.

    3. You are spreading the word of a cause

    If you did your ice bucket challenge without mentioning ALS’ official donate site, ALS in general, or anything regarding those two things, you have failed the challenge. The whole point of the ice bucket challenge is to raise awareness and donate money to a good cause. If you fail to raise awareness and you don’t tell people where to donate, have you actually done anything helpful? No, you haven’t. That’s why if you don’t have this link and a short explanation right alongside your ice bucket challenge, you have failed the challenge. In this video Yahoo Sports’ Puck Daddy blog editor in chief Greg Wyshynski has a near flawless ice bucket challenge video. He donates, he brings awareness, he has some fun doing it, and at the end, he posts the website where people can go to donate.

    4. Don’t judge the challenge by the people who are doing it wrong

    Even if people don’t ignore ALS and don’t forget to donate money, there is still the problem of people forgetting that this is a charity event. It’s not a fad, like the cinnamon challenge. It’s not a viral trend like #throwbackthursday or #caturday. This is supposed to be helping people. Like all large events that a lot of people are allowed to participate in, there are some bad eggs that are trying to ruin the whole bunch. The whole thing has had a surprising number of people spouting negative things about the ice bucket challenge because they are only exposed to people doing it the wrong way. That’s unfair to ALS and to the ice bucket challenge. If you don’t like it, you should seek out people who are doing it right and see that this is meant to be nothing more than a charity event to raise money for a terrible disease.

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    In short, people not mentioning ALS, donations, or any of that jazz does not signify a failure of the ice bucket challenge. It signifies a failure of those people to not understand or communicate the point.

    5. The math says that it works

    At the last count, there have been over $80 million in donations to ALS research. That’s up from just under $2 million last year. That is a significant growth of over 4000% and that figure grows every day. Yes, there are some people who just don’t get the ice bucket challenge and yes there are idiot celebrities who don’t mention anything about ALS or donating money. However, the overall numbers don’t lie. The ice bucket challenge is a force for good.

    6. Remember that there are also other charities

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      Rich and famous people shouldn’t have to pour water over their heads to get people to donate to charity. ALS is a problem that’s not going away any time soon so any time you can donate a few bucks is good. There are other charities for other diseases, humanitarian efforts, educational efforts, and practically any other cause you can think of. Those charities need money too and they don’t have the benefit of a viral charity event like the ice bucket challenge. If you go donate money to ALS, take some time and find another charity and donate to that charity, too. We have the capacity to be better people. Or if you’d rather stick to ALS, sign in every now and then and donate a few more bucks. More than $80 million is impressive but it likely won’t be enough. They’ll need more to kill off this disease eventually.

      7. It’s all in good fun

      Last and certainly not least is that this is supposed to be informative and fun. I know the last several paragraphs seem like it’s this huge, serious deal. The truth is that ALS is a serious deal. People who are diagnosed with that disease know exactly how they’re going to die and they have a rough estimate on when. That’s how serious it is. That said, you should have fun with the ice bucket challenge. Something like this requires enthusiasm and you really are helping out a good cause (assuming you’re following the advice posted above). That’s something that should make you feel good when you hit that donate button and post your ice bucket challenge video.

      The big thing people hate about the ice bucket challenge is that many people don’t see the ice bucket challenge as being helpful or important. Like I stated earlier, this weird, viral charity event has raised over six times the amount of the funding ALS received last year and that’s what is most important here. If you get nominated, remember the important information listed above, have fun, and don’t forget to donate! If you want to donate, that link again is http://www.alsa.org/donate/

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      Featured photo credit: Hot Gossip Italia via flickr.com

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      Last Updated on January 15, 2019

      How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

      How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

      Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

      In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

      Step right up, don’t be shy!

      Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

      The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

      Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

      Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
      So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

      A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

      Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

      Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

      When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

      Culturally Conditioned

      We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

      I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

      The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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      Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

      Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

      Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

      1. Broadens Your Network

      After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

      2. Improves Your Communication Skills

      I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

      Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

      3. Continually Learning

      So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

      Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

      4. Increases Self Confidence

      Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

      Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

      So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

      How to Talk to Strangers

      Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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      1. Say Hello

      Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

      Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

      Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

      2. Ask About Them

      Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

      You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

      As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

      3. Just Do It

      One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

      When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

      Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

      4. Don’t Take It Personal

      One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

      When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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      5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

      I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

      One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

      6. Detach

      A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

      Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

      7. Share Your Stories

      Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

      To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

      So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

      8. Give a Compliment

      Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

      When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

      9. Relax Your Body Language

      If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

      When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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      If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

      10. Practice, Practice, Practice

      Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

      Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

      After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

      The Bottom Line

      As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

      There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

      Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

      Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

      More Resources About Strengthening Communication Skills

      Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

      Reference

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