Back from the brink. | 005/100

It really doesn’t seem that long ago that we were, once again, on the brink of nuclear war. Prophecies of impending doom, fallout, and inevitable destruction were inescapable.

And look at what’s happened:

An incredible, glorious moment. After 65 years, a handshake and a promise: no nuclear arms, and the end of the war. The world lets out a sigh of relief. We’ve pulled back from the brink. The impossible has been made possible by the concerted efforts and willpower of god knows how many people. Just think about the sheer number of egos that had to be silenced, how many vendettas squashed, painful meetings sat through and compromises made to get to this moment.

But, despite all the barriers, all the reasons why it couldn’t possibly happen – it happened. Now, there’ll be some who claim the situation was never as bad as it was made out to be, that the articles and news clips everyone saw were created for maximum outrage, attention and impact. And, of course, there’s an element of truth to that.

It doesn’t matter. This is an incredible event. In dark times, a reminder: that no matter how insurmountable, unrealistic or fantastic the goal, it absolutely can be achieved. Our history is abundant with such dreams that made the incredible (and sometimes slow and painful) jump into reality. They include:

  • The abolition of slavery, civil rights, the election of a Black President
  • The women’s suffrage movement
  • Manned flight/space travel/landing on the moon
  • Indian independence
  • The end of apartheid, the election of Nelson Mandela
  • The fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War

The lesson you can draw from all these moments is that it is not enough to idly dream. You’ve got to actually ‘grind the sausage’, as Otto von Bismarck, a master of the delicate art of ‘Realpolitik’, might have said. You’ve got to do something about it. And it’s going to take blood, sweat, tears and long hours.

So why waste any more time? Get out there and do something about your dream.

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