We can almost hear the two-year-old screaming as it hits the pavement.

I know Kiwis who are currently living in the UK. They are generally happy New Zealanders. Last year they carried on going to work, living their lives as best they could in a COVID-19 environment. They managed to retain their positive outlook on life throughout 2020.  There was a notable change in demeanour around Christmas time.  These Kiwis found they could not get together with friends or family to celebrate. Enjoying Christmas, with its early sunset, pretty lights, warm homes, hot dinners, and gifts, generally lifts the spirit of the UK population in the middle of their long winter.

These Kiwis found they were once again in a strict lockdown and disappointment kicked in. They started having a bit of a meltdown. Ongoing inconvenience for months on end sapped their resilience and they began expressing how sick and tired they were of this virus. One family I know have a one-year-old, who has met only two or three other adults in her first year of life, and no other children.

The jury is still out on the social impact of the UK government’s long-term COVID-19 restrictions on adults and children alike, but people have become very frustrated.  

And what about Kiwis in NZ?

New Zealanders currently are told we do not know how lucky we are.  Kiwis appreciate that NZ is COVID-19 free, but no matter how much they love this beautiful country, healthy scepticism knows this gives a false impression. The reality is that New Zealand is not the paradise it once was. The economic and social disruption of people’s livelihoods is devastating. Businesses have shut down, people have lost their jobs, people are homeless, and we remain isolated from the rest of the world. 

New Zealanders recall the Christchurch earthquake in 2011 when 185 people lost their lives, and many lost their homes and businesses. Once the survivors got over the initial shock, they found they were still on edge as the aftershocks continued for about 15 months. Children became most fearful, as they worried whether another big quake was about to hit them. History and experience show us that when people have ongoing disappointments, it is difficult to remain positive.

The impact of COVID-19 is not the only disappointment Kiwis are facing. Conservative Kiwis also know that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s left-wing policies are about to be unleashed when Parliament resumes. Free speech as we know it will be targeted and restricted by Labour.

Paul Goldsmith, National spokesman, highlighted in October that policies that would help ordinary hard-working voters have been overlooked. 

Labour campaigned on fixing NZ housing crisis but everything in relation to housing has got worse under Labour.


And in America?

Conservative voters watched as Donald Trump was ruthlessly undermined for the four years of his presidency. Even though the criticisms were endless, in the recent election, 74 million voted for him. He did not concede defeat, believing that it was not a fair election. But he lost the election. A rally was held, and some stormed the Capitol Building. Those who do not like the Republicans blamed President Trump. This emboldened the Democrats to impeach him. The tech giants took the opportunity to censure and de-platform online accounts of those they did not like or agree with, including President Trump.

Many supporters at the rally remained peaceful, but the world witnessed a meltdown by some Americans. There are no excuses for the appalling behaviour but it was likely caused by sheer frustration and disappointment.

Manfred F R Kets de Vries, a Dutch management scholar and psychoanalyst from the Harvard Business School, discusses disappointments and tells a story about Churchill.

Take Winston Churchill as an example, early in his career, the disastrous First World War military campaign at Gallipoli forced him to resign from his position as First Lord of the Admiralty. Churchill had come up with a plan (later called “Churchill’s Folly”) to send a fleet through the Dardanelles strait and capture Constantinople (present-day Istanbul), which he predicted would cause Ottoman Turkey to quit the war. But the plan utterly failed, and tens of thousands died. Churchill was disgraced and demoted.

To cope with this calamity and the subsequent humiliation, he refocused his attention and energy away from politics. Six months after his demotion, he became an infantry officer and joined the fight in France. During his time out of the political spotlight, he thought through what had happened to him and what it had taught him about dealing with life’s challenges. While at first, he felt overwhelmed by what he called his “black dog of depression,” Churchill realized that it was much more constructive to reframe his disappointments as learning experiences in order to be able to cope better in the future, and to use disappointment as a catalyst for personal growth. Such soul-searching provided him with new information about himself, the world, and others.

De Vries continues,

Disappointments are inevitable, and how we cope with them is often a defining moment in our lives… We all feel this way from time to time. Some of these disappointments will not make much of a difference, but there are also disappointments that can change the course of our lives…

New Zealanders and Americans on the right, may need to switch off a little from politics to get over their bitter disappointment, as Churchill in the 1940s needed to. Churchill refocused, and in his inspiring speeches, he galvanised the British people.

People need to hold on to their beliefs and ride out these frustratingly disappointing left-wing Governments both in America and New Zealand, then vote them out and eat ice cream.

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