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6 Strategic Life Lessons From Game Of Thrones: Season 5

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6 Strategic Life Lessons From Game Of Thrones: Season 5

You’re probably thinking ‘how on Earth could the tv show Game Of Thrones help me achieve success?’ – but bear with me. I have identified 6 key strategic life lessons that can be learned from season 5 that directly relates to you and the situations you’ll encounter on your journey to success.

The last episode of season 5 of Game of Thrones was shocking for another time. In surprise of the series fans who haven’t read the books, Jon Snow was betrayed by a gathered group of the Night’s Watch men who stabbed him until he fall dead on the ground.

It seems that JRR Martin likes killing an important member of the Stark family in the end of each season. But the death of Jon Snow wasn’t the only remarkable happening in the last episode of season 5. Stannis attempted to attack Winterfell after the snowstorm ended and the snow began to melt.

Did I mention that he sacrificed his daughter to the Gods because his Witch lover told him this was the only way to win Winterfell? Unfortunately, it all ended in a disaster for Stannis. Then we saw Myrsella Lannister dying from the poison Ellaria Sand(Oberyn’s wife) gave her from a simple kiss in the mouth!

This was just a small recap to get into the main subject. Game of Thrones is a very intriguing series with a plot that really represents situations from real life. Betrayals from friends and brothers, terrible fathers and revenge are very common in real life as well.

Let’s see what strategy lessons the last episode of Game of Thrones and Jon Snow’s death can teach us:

 

1. People who are close to you because of your money will abandon you in the first difficulty

Stannis believed that his daughter sacrifice was enough to help him attack and conquer Winterfell. He also believed that an army of mercenary cavalry would really help him become a king. But as soon as his army encountered a heavy blizzard his mercenaries were looking for the first chance to abandon him.

Who would risk his own benefits (life) in front of a monetary reward that wasn’t even sure? Stannis would need to pass a lot of struggles before he could become a king. His paid army left him as soon as the heavy snowstorm ended. Then Stannis army was decreased by 50%.

This applies in real life too. When you keep people close to you because you offer them money in exchange for their alliance or relationship don’t expect these people to help you get through hardships.

They will be close to you as long as you provide them with what they need (money) but they will leave you alone when they see that you can’t offer them money and luxury anymore.

Friendships and alliances built up on money are completely unreliable.

 

2. Don’t make hasty decisions & don’t be afraid to take a step backwards

Stannis did another terrible mistake in the last episode. Even after his army abandoned him, he decided to attack Winterfell anyway. How could he do otherwise? He has been told that sacrificing his daughter would help him win Winterfell no matter what.

As soon as he faced another tragedy, namely his wife’s suicide, his mind was obfuscated. His critical sense was absent and he took the hurried decision to attack Winterfell with an unmounted army which was exhausted from the cold. The defenders of Winterfell were well prepared and mounted. As a result they crushed Stannis unmounted army.

When you encounter a huge difficulty or a series of tragedies (ie something like Stannis’s daughter death, wife suicide & being abandoned by his cavalry) the best decision you can make is to just wait.

Wait until your mind is clear and you are not emotionally affected by your failures. Take a step back and reorganize yourself. Don’t rush to make the decision to move forward and attack because you will end up beaten like Stannis was.

“And a step backward, after making a wrong turn, is a step in the right direction.” – Kurt Vonnegut

3. You can’t trust anyone

I know this sounds harsh but nobody is 100% reliable, even your own family and friends. Sure people in your close environment care for you and will be more likely to help you, but how many times were you disappointed by someone, a friend of yours or relative, who didn’t do what he was supposed to do to help you?

People are very selfish, that’s the ugly truth. Trusting others without consideration or back up plans will cause you a lot of harm.

In particular, don’t trust people who have repeatedly disappointed you, betrayed you or tried to harm you in the past. Myrsella died from the poison that Ellaria Sand gave her by kissing her in the mouth to say her goodbye.

Elarria had tried to kill Myrsella before and she still wanted to take revenge from Myrsella’s family even if she said that she was sorry for her actions. Myrsella should never have trusted Ellaria’s words of repentance. If she had never trusted her she would have never kissed her and she would be still alive.

In addition, Jon Snow believed his steward Olly when he told him that a missing relative of his was alive. He didn’t take some time to think if he could trust Olly’s statement and driven by his emotions he followed Olly into a trap that lead to his death.

 

4. It’s the quiet ones that you have got to watch

The High Sparrow (what a foolish name) was given authority from Queen Cersei and King Tommen and was appointed High Septon (position of supreme authority in GOT church).

This old man was originally a humble septon who preached equality among all men and helped the poor while he was living a humble life. He seemed like a harmless old man. As he was gathering followers around him he became the leader of a movement called the Sparrows and due to Queen Cersei’s influence, he became the head of the church.

This position along with his steel personality made a guiltless old man a person who doesn’t bow to authority, someone who can’t be intimidated or threatened. As a result Queen Cersei who has made the mistake to give him this huge power was imprisoned by the Sparrows because of her previous sins. She was tortured and then humiliated in front of countless people.

Sometimes people who seem very guiltless, people who you think could never do any harm, are the ones that you should be afraid of. You have to watch them really closely and be careful about giving them power because you don’t know how they will use it.

 

5. Build your body

Ancient Greeks said that mens sana in corpore sano which means that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind and vice versa. Building your physique and doing some strength training to empower your body is essential for success.

Through exercising you learn how to develop discipline and focus, overcome obstacles, set up goals and achieve them. You also develop the physical power to accompany your brain’s power as well as the attractiveness derived from a well-built physique.

Why do you think that Spartans were so disciplined and one of the most powerful civilizations ever lived? They believed that working out and developing their bodies is essential for success.

In the last episode of Game of thrones we saw Sam (Jon Snow fat friend) asking Jon to let him leave the Night’s Watch and Castle Black to go and study to become a Maester (a man wise in history, science and medicine).

The reason behind Sam’s motive was mostly to protect his lover Gilly from the other men in Castle Black (who were not allowed to have sexual contact with women but would like to). Sam is a very smart guy but he is also extremely fat and weak and couldn’t physically protect Gilly and her baby from them.

He was badly beaten up when he tried to protect them and he would have died if Jon Snow’s wolf hadn’t saved him. If Sam had focused on building his body and learned to use it, he would have the power to protect his lover.

This doesn’t mean that you need to lift weights and become huge in real life to fight and beat other people. Our society is a little more civilized but even in the case you would need to do that, a strong and muscular body would help instead of a weak, fat one.

Either way, exercising and building your body can only offer you several significant benefits. It’s far better than sitting on the couch eating pizzas and burgers. It feels awesome.

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6. Jon Snow dies because of lack of communication skills

Jon did the terrible mistake to help the wildlings and bring them to Castle Black. Jon’s decision was well-intentioned and kind because he saved a ton of lives but his “brothers” in the Night Watch didn’t think the same. The Night Watch was fighting for years with the wildlings and many of the Night’s Watch brothers were killed in these fights.

Even the fact that he was lord commander of the Night Watch didn’t make its members accept his decision to help the wildlings. They considered him a traitor.

Jon Snow dies in Game of Thrones because of his lack of understanding the feelings of the other men in the Night Watch. He knew that they would feel betrayed but he didn’t do anything to fix the situation. Maybe the situation could never be fixed but he could still try to change their feelings.

If this didn’t work then he should be ultra cautious and careful. When you know that some dozens of people hate you and want to harm you, you must be perspicacious enough to recognize the threat and try to avoid potential dangers.

The same can happen in business, politics and every form of leadership in real life. Being a leader is tough and sometimes you might need to make decisions that will make people angry. If you don’t take measures to reduce their feelings of anger or prevent harmful situations you might end up losing a lot of money or even your work.

 

Thanks for reading my article! What did you learn from Game Of Thrones: Season 5? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section!

Damian is the owner of DareandConquer.com, a blog dedicated to help people go from mediocre to exceptional. You can download his FREE E-Book to learn how you can become more disciplined, focused and beat procrastination.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Abel Solomon

    Jul 1, 2015 at 9:14 am

    Very good article, I love how you linked it all together, please do one for Breaking Bad there is so much one can learn from Walt`s character. Me personally as a Christian I put my confidence in God because I know he will never let me down, we were not made to trust completely in our own abilities and intellect but to depend on God by faith. Sorry if some don’t believe or agree with this view.

    Psalm 118- 8

    It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

  2. Anushka

    Jun 28, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    The last bullet point on Jon Snows communication skills is stella, I love it so much that when I read it I laughed out loud. Even thought it was a solid strategy that Jon Snow had, he lacked empathy for the very men he was trying to motivate. Men who were already on the fence about ability to lead in the first place… Great life lesson, lack of empathy kills… Great article !

  3. Daithi

    Jun 27, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    Nice observations and well crafted.

    To contribute:
    1. Agree. As the Beatles said, “money can’t buy me love”. Stannis’ decision to burn his daughter also burned his relationship with his army. Although it was alledged, they weren’t privy to her blood magic and had no reason to believe that the sacrifice would result in victory. The sacrifice itself served as the catalyst for mass exodus and ultimately defeat.

    2. Agree. Stannis had lost his mind at this stage. All his family relationships ended as a result of his delusions towards power. A man on his last legs resigned to finishing his last fight.

    3. Disagree. You can trust some people. You just can’t trust all people. In fact, you can’t trust most people, so mostly agree but just disagreeing for the sake of difference.

    4. Agree. Especially the smart, principled, disciplined, erudite, wise, cunning and quiet ones.

    5. Does Sam even lift bro?

    6. In the end, Jon Snow did prove that he did in fact, know nothing… about understanding the depth and range of emotion among the men he commanded. He was a young educated bastard of a well respected noble. His men were likely a range of betrayed royal courteseans and condenmed men. He assumed that his men would follow a similar line of thinking and emotional development as he did through his relationship with the girl. Most of his men had never touched a woman. Their raw bitter hatred of the Wildlings was lifted from them and transferred onto Snow. It was more than he could carry. He fell.

    • Damian Pros

      Jun 28, 2015 at 5:53 am

      Hey Daithi,

      This was a very insightful comment! Absolutely well said.

      As for the 3rd point: of course there are people that you can trust and depend on more than others. But sometimes the only person you can rely on 100% is yourself.

  4. Lawrence Berry

    Jun 27, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    This was a very interesting article. I surely do watch the game of thrones when I get the chance to. I think some of these you hit right on the money. Number 1 is very true. Your real friends would never abandon you, and the people you have by your side because of the monetary value you give them, will never be truly faithful to you. It is very interesting though that you look at the high sparrow in such a negative way. I thought he was just really a guy who worshiped the Gods before anyone else. The Queen was the bad one in my eyes. It was still nice to see a different perspective of things.

    • Damian Pros

      Jun 27, 2015 at 7:34 pm

      Hey lawrence, thanks for leaving your opinion. You are spot on what you said about money.

      Concerning the High Sparrow, I don’t know man, maybe I don’t like him because of the hilarious name. Why on earth call your self sparrow? Even if the queen was the bad one I don’t think she deserved that kind of humiliation.

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6 Reasons Why You Should Never Glorify Failure After You’ve Failed

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Many people are ashamed of failure. If they so much as smell a whiff of failure, they quit instantly because the public notices it quickly. But you shouldn’t be ashamed of failure. A lot of people have failed. I’ve failed over and over again in my career, business, relationships and more. Yet, I keep trying because failure isn’t the final verdict. (more…)

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How to Move Forward When All Seems Lost

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A few weeks ago, the relationship of my venture with a long-term client turned rocky. Losing them would mean a huge loss for my business, but it appeared like that’s where we were headed. My mind raced with unpleasant thoughts. Maybe the client had figured out that I couldn’t lead my team well. Maybe I was not good enough to be an entrepreneur. Maybe I was not good enough to do anything.

Why was the world so unfair?! Within moments, my anxiety had shot through the roof and my heart was racing faster than an F1 car engine. But I know I’m not the only one who feels like this.

Why Problems Overwhelm Us

As human beings, we’re good at solving problems, so they shouldn’t stress us out. Yet, they do just that. Why?

Consider some of these situations in life. When a relationship is headed for troubled waters, we wonder whether our partner loves us anymore. Our mind unearths memories of when we got dumped or rejected. We blame ourselves for falling for the wrong people and tell ourselves that we’re not worth receiving love.

How do you think the relationship will steer after that? If we cannot stick to a diet, we think of other times when we gave up. We remember what people said about things that we couldn’t do and ask ourselves, “were they right?” We tell ourselves that we don’t have what it takes to succeed at anything.

Do you think we’ll find the grit to stick to the diet after this? So here we are… thinking we’re not good enough to be entrepreneurs, to be loved, to get promoted, or to achieve our personal goals. Notice a pattern yet? We move in the wrong direction. The destination is to achieve the goal. And unless we stop giving into emotions and start addressing situations, we’ll keep failing to get there.

Negative emotions (and even extremely positive ones) blur our vision. The more we focus on them, the deeper we go into how we feel. We either get angry because things aren’t the way we want them to be, or get paralyzed by the fear of the worst possible outcome. This means we pull away from the one thing we must do to set things right — take action.

“If you can’t sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there and worrying. It’s the worry that gets you, not the loss of sleep.” – Dale Carnegie

How to Take Action in the Face of Problems

Most human beings are good at solving problems. Where we get blindsided is at diagnosing the right problem. To diagnose the right problem, we must address the situation instead of emotions. We must see things for what they are, collect facts on what we’re worrying about, and then ask ourselves, “What should I do next?”

In his book “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living”, Dale Carnegie wrote: “Neither you nor I nor Einstein nor the Supreme Court of the United States is brilliant enough to reach an intelligent decision on any problem without first getting the facts.”

To address the tricky situation with my client, I took the following three steps:

1. First, I acknowledged the feeling

Solving a problem doesn’t mean ignoring emotions. It’s important to acknowledge how you feel because it reveals the path, but domesticating your emotions is more important. I acknowledged how I felt by saying, “I feel anxious because the client might not want to work with us anymore and this will be a financial loss for us.”

Note how I said “I feel anxious” and not “I’m a loser.” If I had given into negative chatter, I wouldn’t have uncovered the direction to move in (the part after “because”). This is why domesticating emotions is crucial.

2. Next, I prepared for the worst

We often run from our worst fears rather than facing them despite knowing that the worst outcome rarely comes true. The result is that we stay stuck in fear instead of pushing beyond it. And we never discover what we’re really capable of, which sucks.

In my case, the worst meant losing the client. It would hurt but it was the truth. However, we could get more clients. Plus we already had other clients who helped us pay the bills. In other words, I wouldn’t have to live on the street.

The moment I accepted this, a huge weight got lifted off my chest. This prepared me for the third and final step.

“Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes.” – Zig Ziglar

3. Lastly, I examined the situation

Examining a situation means setting aside your emotional baggage and focusing on facts. When you trust that you’ll be okay, you become better at diagnosing the real problem. Once I felt lighter, I could see things clearly.

I used the 5 Whys Technique (asking “why” five times) to figure out the real reason for the client’s dissatisfaction. Then I collected data on the issue and on what we had previously delivered.

Finally, I reached out to the CEO of the client and held a detailed and constructive discussion based on my findings. Within four days, the CEO and I were back to the way things were before.

The best way to prepare for tomorrow is to give today your best. I’m not sure whether the issue with the client got resolved for good or whether the client won’t pack up and leave one day. However, I am sure that I’m prepared to handle such cases better today than I was yesterday.

Control your emotions instead of letting them run amok. Accept things for what they are instead of what you want them to be. Be realistic instead of delusional. Address the situation instead of succumbing to emotions.

Don’t preempt what lies ten miles ahead and get paralyzed by fear. Address what lies clearly in front of you and keep moving. One day you’ll be surprised about how close to your destination you are.

How do you move forward when all hope seems to be lost? Share your advice below!

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8 Effective Tips to Improve Your Emotional Wellbeing

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You know what they say, “Health Is Wealth”. But, more often than not, we only mean it in the context of physical health. There’s no question that being fit is the world’s greatest treasure. Unfortunately, not a lot of us take time out to look after our emotional health and wellbeing.

Let’s not forget – it’s ‘Mind Over Matter’. So, if you are able to take control of your emotions, thoughts, how you feel through the day and how you respond to myriad situations; there’s nothing quite like it. When you become the master of your emotions; health, prosperity, and basically all good things are bound to follow you.

With that said, here are 8 surefire ways that will improve your emotional wellbeing:

1. Practice Mindfulness

Half the time, we don’t even know what we’re thinking or how we’re feeling. That’s because we let our minds operate on autopilot. It’s time to take control of your mind. Be aware of what and how you feel throughout the day. The upside to this practice is that you can detect negative emotions right on the onset and quickly change them and their corresponding feeling.

Feelings of anger, jealousy, hatred; they are not good for the mind, soul, or the body. Paying close attention to the spectrum of emotions you experience throughout the day, will help you detect the negative ones and kick them away before they fester deep enough to take away your happiness and emotional health.

2. Stay Physically Active

As you engage in physical activities, your brain produces a whole bunch of feel-good hormones such as endorphins and dopamine. These hormones are what causes the ‘elated’ or ‘euphoric’ feeling. Being physically active uplifts your mood and your outlook towards life. It readies you to take the challenges more head-on instead of becoming overwhelmed by the littlest of inconvenience.

You are better able to analyze tough situations and take a more proactive rather than a reactive approach. It’s no question physical health is in direct proportion with emotional health. A healthy mind resides in a healthy body and vice versa.

“Caring for the mind is as important and crucial as caring for the body. In fact, one cannot be healthy without the other.” – Sid Garza-Hillman

3. Get Sufficient Sleep

Ever noticed how you feel depressed and cranky, and just out of focus the day you fail to get a good night’s sleep? Well, if you fail to get sufficient sleep for a couple of days, you are bound to feel more depressed, cranky and eventually more prone to a host of negative emotions. Research shows that sleep deprivation sends amygdala – our brain’s emotional response center into overdrive.

Amygdala controls our immediate emotional responses. When it becomes overactive, we become more reactive rather than active. We become more irritable, angry and anxious. A good night’s sleep is vital to improving your emotional wellbeing.

4. Develop a New Hobby

Learn to swim. Try arts and crafts. How about painting? Swimming is a ‘happy’ activity. You get to make new friends and stay fit. Arts and crafts, as we all know, tends to have a relaxing effect on the mind and the nerves.

Just the process of creating something from scratch makes you confident and gets those creative juices flowing. Similarly, painting helps you express yourself. All these factors together create a ‘happy you’. The one who likes to engage in new things instead of resisting change or difficult situations.

5. Eat Healthy

Ever heard of the phrase, “You are what you eat”? Well, it’s true to the last syllable. When you eat foods rich in salt, sodium, fat – you are bound to feel lethargic. It takes longer for the body to digest such foods. That means the body is forced to deprive organs of blood and use it for the digestion purpose.

Result? You become lazy, moody, not ready to take any responsibility which leads to feeling cranky and irritable. On the other hand, eating fibrous vegetables, fruits, salads, and complex sugars keeps you upbeat and healthy.

6. Laugh Your Heart Out

Laughter is the best medicine. That is why they have a dedicated ‘laughter session’ in yoga studios. You don’t even have to mean it. The simple act of spreading your cheeks and pretending to laugh sends a signal to your body that you are happy.

And what happens when you are happy? Your brain releases happy hormones like dopamine, serotonin and what not. In fact, many studies have gone so far as to stipulate that laughter alone is capable of treating all kinds of physical ailments. Why should emotional ailments be any different?

7. Try Relaxation Techniques

‘’Visualization technique’’ where you imagine yourself in a happy place is a surefire way to calm your nerves if you find yourself distressed. You may also try praying to elate yourself. Praying is good for the mind and the soul.

Controlled breathing or ‘biofeedback technique’ are some other relaxation techniques that can tame how you feel and even your bodily functions. Try surrounding yourself with aromatherapy or scented candles because the smell is a big factor in governing how we feel.

“Positive emotional energy is the key to health, happiness and wellbeing. The more positive you are, the better your life will be in every area.” – Brian Tracy

8. Count Your Blessings

We all have so much to be thankful for. It could be a friend who stands by you or a happy family. Good health. Financial freedom. Make a list of all the things that you feel grateful for in your life. If it’s a person, be sure to communicate your feelings and express your gratitude.

You will feel so much happier. Happiness is the diet of a healthy mind and an intelligent emotional response mechanism. You could also try writing a poem or simply expressing your gratitude through the power of prayers.

There are so many ways to become emotionally intelligent and not one of them requires any investment or special skills. Practically anyone and everyone can do it. All you need is the will and the desire.

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How You Can Use the Power of Gratitude to Your Advantage

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The word gratitude has been tossed around, but do you know exactly what it means or how to implement it into your life? Someone has probably told you in your life, “Express more gratitude.” Well, that sounds like a great idea, but if you don’t know what gratitude is, how can you fully express it in your life? It’s a concept that once you grasp, it will change your life. (more…)

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