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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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Leanne Louie

Leanne is a passionate writer who shares lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

More About Working From Home

Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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