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10,316 days

· Thoughts

I find it a little hard to comprehend that the Berlin wall has been down as long as it was up. That is a bit mind boggling. It came down the year my son was born. It seems like a whole lifetime ago… Well I suppose for my son it actually was a lifetime. Hard to believe that there is an entire population of our world who never even knew life when the wall existed. Perhaps that is one of the remarkable things about getting older is seeing things come and go.

This wall had been called the wall of shame and was representative of the separation between the Western World and the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War.

The wall had been erected in 1961 as a way to restrict the citizens of East Berlin from defecting to the west. The border was essentially closed overnight August 12 it was decided and by the morning of Aug 13 the borders were closed. Next the construction for the wall began and continued for all of its existence.

The thoughts around the wall were complicated, political and criticized and it took a really long time for people to suspend their beliefs and write a different story. People had escaped and people had been killed trying to escape. When we look back it’s easy to see there was a better way. That is what happens with hindsight, we see a better way. There just has to be the willingness to see differently. If we can trust that in the future we can look back and see a better way then there must; therefore, be a better way. We could start that better way today rather than waiting 10,316 days.

If a country can re-evaluate their beliefs around segregation (even if it did take almost 30 years) then are we not capable as individuals of re-evaluating our own beliefs? Are we not able to suspend our beliefs (whatever they may be) to consider a different perspective so that we can proceed with new perspective? I think we are, but we have to be willing. I bet there are a lot of East German citizens who are happy the powers that be were willing.

If we stick around long enough everything changes, without fail. If we know that then, why do we think we are so right about our beliefs that we are willing to lose friendships, alienate family and build walls? What if we just start assuming we could be wrong and go from there?

To learn more about THINK OPPOSITE or to hire Alison to speak visit of Think Opposite: Using the Domino Effect to Change Your Business, Change the World – available in bookstores everywhere in September 2017 or email

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