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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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