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5 Life Lessons From Game Of Thrones

5 Life Lessons From Game Of Thrones

Game of Thrones may be best known for its surprise beheadings and near omnipresent nudity, but there’s much more to it than this. Next to the naked dragon queens and stinging betrayals, its deeper morals often fall to the wayside— but they’re there, hiding behind every boob and barbarian.

Here are 5 life lessons to be learnt from Game of Thrones:

1. Life isn’t perfect

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Many fantasy tales focus heavily on the “happily ever after,” but this is not so with Game of Thrones. Martin tells a story that is epic, exciting, but most importantly, realistic. No, I’m not talking about the dragons and whitewalkers. I mean the storyline— the way things unfold. Martin forgoes the idealism of happy endings and how things ought to be. In real life, you never know what’s going to happen, and this sentiment is portrayed perfectly in Game of Thrones. The good guys aren’t guaranteed to win and the bad guys won’t necessarily die a slow and painful death. In fact, in Game of Thrones, the bad guys often triumph and the good guys often die. Life is full of twists and turns, and more often than not, things don’t turn out as expected. Game of Thrones is perfectly unidealized, renouncing the monotony and predictability of the stereotypical hero’s journey and telling a tale based more so in realism.

2. It’s all in where you’re standing

Game of Thrones tells a single story through the eyes of many characters. This allows for an exploration of different perspectives, revealing the impact that culture and upbringing can have on a person’s worldview. Like a city looks different from certain vantage points, a single event can have a totally different appearance to different people. To us, Eddard Stark is the honourable hero that dies in vain, but to Daenerys Targaryen, he’s the cold warrior that slew her family. The Wildlings may be viewed as savages by most of Westeros, but to Mance Rayder and Jon Snow, they’re simply a spirited people in love with freedom. To the lords of Westeros, the Seven Kingdoms are everything, yet to the merchants of Qarth who care only for trade and money, they are nothing. Depending on the person, one thing can have entirely different meanings, some as different from each other as ice and fire— but all are valid. There is great wisdom to be had from considering all perspectives and their origins. Expanding your own point of view will help you to see the world more objectively and become more understanding of others.

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3. What people think about you doesn’t matter

Game of Thrones is filled with characters who are seen as inferior for some reason or another. Tyrion the dwarf, Jon the bastard, Bran the Broken, Davos the Onion Knight, Brienne the Beauty, and the list goes on. Despite the labels stuck to these characters, though, none of them are held back. They wear their so called weaknesses as a badge of pride, finding beauty in their uniqueness. Bran embraces his strengths as a warg, Brienne devotes herself to the art of combat, and Tyrion… well, everyone knows how awesome Tyrion is. As he says, “Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you.”

4. Understand and have compassion towards others

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It’s easy to make snap judgements about people. When someone acts in an irritating way or says something offensive, we tend to attribute this behavior to bad character rather than trying to understand it. In Game of Thrones, multiple characters make poor decisions on a regular basis, yet we can empathize with them because we know why they acted as they did. Throughout daily life, it’s this why that’s often missing. Why did your friend say that to you? Why did that car cut you off? When we don’t know the why, we have a habit of creating one, and it typically takes on some form of they’re a bad person. Through George R. R. Martin, we see the world of Game of Thrones from multiple perspectives, which helps us to understand why certain characters act the way they do. Although explanations don’t excuse cruelty or carelessness, they can certainly help to build empathy, creating a more constructive mindset less concerned with judgement and more so with understanding and problem solving. From afar, Theon may seem cruel and ungrateful, but Martin encourages the audience to consider the events that brought him to that place— he became a hostage at ten, went unloved by the Starks, and when he finally did return home, it was to a family nearly indifferent to his existence. With that knowledge, his actions are more understandable— although not excusable. In a similar way, Cersei’s behaviour can be explained through her love of her children, the Kingslayer’s through his love of Cersei, and Stannis’s through his unhappy childhood. This unabridged view into the lives of these characters allows for more compassion towards those who might otherwise be labelled the ‘bad guys.’ Martin perfectly demonstrates the impact that upbringing and circumstances can have on a person’s behavior, helping to build his audience’s empathy, both within the story and without.

5. Make every moment count

Valar morghulis. All men must die. Many of us view death as a distant stranger that we’ll likely never know. Game of Thrones demonstrates that death comes for everyone, from noble lords to innocent children. Being an upstanding citizen doesn’t make you immune to speeding cars or diseases. Each one of us is as vulnerable to death as the next, and eventually, it will come for us all, whether as an accidental misstep on a roof or an overly aged body. It could be tomorrow, or it could be in ninety years, but all men must die, so while alive, make every moment count. Do what you love, spend time with loved ones and be grateful, because, as Martin relentlessly shows, any moment could be your last.

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Featured photo credit: FAN-SNE via fan-sne.deviantart.com

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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