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Keith Tse


  • Writer's pictureKeith Tse


Don’t we ever feel disappointed and angry when we receive notification of rejection informing us that our application, immaculately and painstaking prepared through months (if not years) of hard-work, has just been turned down and that golden opportunity that we have always dreamt of having has just been taken away from us? Moments like these are truly terrifying, since one suddenly feels that one’s dream has been shattered and one’s world is gradually turning into a endless vacuum that is gaping wide and engulfing you down. This is truly a horrifying prospect, not being able to be in our much-coveted dreamland, and my experience is that when it becomes reality, it sends pain and fear signals right to our marrow. At this point, we have two choices: either sink to rock bottom and stay there, or pick yourself up and try again, and, as the saying goes, the deeper you fall, the higher you bounce back. The latter option of recovery is clearly far more constructive than the former one of self-deprecation, but it is also that much more difficult, since ‘bounce back and rise up’ is always easier said than done. It may be romantic and, often, necessary, but we all know that picking yourself up and go again takes the life out of you, since it requires a huge amount of mental energy and strength. Many do not manage it, and I doubt that it is a matter of will, as I do not believe that anyone would want to stay at rock-bottom, but rather it is so mentally draining that many people just do not manage it. We must therefore find a way to conquer this mountain that we have to climb. As before, I have no big secret here, but one thing that has worked for me in the past is to use my anger and channel it towards future actions. Disappointment is always accompanied by anger, since when you feel gutted and dejected, you also necessarily feel angry at what you perceive to be a case of grave injustice being directed against you. You feel jealous that someone else has got the much-coveted position instead of you, and you feel offended by the adjudicators’ decision to turn you down (whatever their reasons might be), and you feel angry at yourself for not having done more/better. Anger, therefore, is a very powerful emotion that fills you up at moments of distress, and in my case I always try to use this abundant flow of anger to propel myself forward towards a bigger goal, not because I am filled with energy and enthusiasm after setbacks- to the contrary, I am usually as flat as I can be and can barely function- but because I absolutely do not want to stay at rock-bottom but want to move away from it as quickly as I can. I therefore use my anger and fear to get me away from it and continue moving forward. Once I am away from the pit i.e. psychologically recovered (mutatismutandis), I convince myself that there is unfinished business that needs to be taken care of, that of the previous setback, and I cannot live with myself leaving an episode of my life unresolved. I then look for ways to take my revenge, which, as mentioned before, can take you to greater heights that you imagined. We cannot always be victors in the game of life and think that we are cruising on the tides of victory, progress and fulfilment all the time, and there will always be waves, turmoil and setbacks that will shatter our very existence, but when life gets so hard that we think that there is nothing positive left in us anymore, I use my negative energy, namely fury and anger, as my fuel, not because I want to use it but because there is simply nothing else in my system and this black, venomous fuel comes in abundance at times like these. I then plot my revenge against all those who brought me down, including myself. Don’t give up, even if you are on the losing end. Your anger and hatred might just bring you back to where you belong.

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