The challenging words Ronald Reagan uttered 22 years ago, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,” still echo today, even 20 years after the actual fall of the wall, this week marking the two decade anniversary. But, who would have guessed then that the “wall” would still exist today for many people in Germany? That being the “wall in the mind.”
An article by NBC news producer Doug Adams brings to light how many people in Germany, both in the East and the West, are unable to tear the wall down in their minds. They are locked into the East vs. West mindset where, as Kipling said, “never the twain shall meet.” All sectors, from media to business to government, still compare the two sides which in and of itself fosters the lagging dividing line between them.
This particularly clicked in for me after coincidentally visiting the Reagan Presidential Library over the weekend for a friend’s birthday celebration. A section of the Berlin wall stands outside the museum and it was pretty surreal glimpsing that piece of history up close.
It got me thinking about the walls we create in our own minds. How many times have you read an inspiring book, attended a “life-changing” seminar, or heard words that resonated a desire to change deep within you and then a couple of days later things quietly drifted back to the way things were before? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. We’ve all been there, and often!
Mindsets are what cause the walls to erect and mindsets are the powerful enforcers that keep them there. Your mindset is your way of perceiving and interpreting information. Mindsets are brought about through belief systems, past experience and fear and over time become habit; a strong mindset effects decision-making and action or lack of action.
So, how do you tear down or break through mindset walls?
- Awareness – when you’re aware in the moment, recognizing that you’re up against the wall in your mind, it’s the first step toward chipping away at the pebbles in the wall. Each time you stop in awareness, you’ll tear down a little more. And, the awareness separates you from the obstacle or thought that’s holding you back.
- Freedom of thought – slow down and allow yourself to pass through to the free side of your mind where choices are clear and resistance is a molehill rather than a mountain. Remind yourself of instances when you’ve been in your free mind. Recall the simplicity.
- Talk it through – it helps to talk through your process with your trusted circle. If anything it shines a light on the wall, many times showing it to be much smaller than what you’ve created in your mind.
- Value your words – when you write down what you desire on the other side of that mindset wall and make a list of what’s keeping you from it, it puts it concrete form giving you items to address like crossing off items on a to-do list.
- Do the opposite – now that you know what your ‘wall’ consists of, take small actions to change. Change of behavior over time will change mindsets. When you come up against the wall of resistance, try a new tact, shakes things up in your routine.
- Take baby steps – break the ‘wall’ down into smaller blocks, represented by smaller goals that are easily attainable in short time frames. And, celebrate each time to you break through each block.
In that same speech, Reagan made reference to a rough scrawl on the wall, which still holds true when comes to breaking down our mindset walls. It read, “The wall will fall. Beliefs become reality.”
Let’s end, and begin, with that mindset!