Here are the 10 best life lessons from Game of Thrones.
Sometimes the right thing to do is make a sacrifice. Give up something you want or think you need now in order to make the future better. Ho’dor makes the ultimate sacrifice, giving up his life to save Bran, and ultimately save the world.
There will be times in life when you will need to make a sacrifice, although hopefully not by giving up your life. Sometimes making the right sacrifice means spending more time working, giving up drinking, or going out of your way to do something kind for someone else.
Learn to make the right sacrifices in life. Hold the door.
2. Listen and Believe
Many people died unnecessarily because they didn’t listen to the warnings about the White Walkers. It’s easy to think the way you see the world is always right, and anyone who disagrees with you is just a blabbering idiot. But, more often than not, you’ll find you can learn so much from others.
If you really listen to people when they’re trying to warn you, you’ll avoid many mistakes in life. Don’t let your ego get in the way of learning something new and changing how you behave.
3. Be Loyal to Your Friends
When you find a good friend, be loyal to them and treat them well. Ser Bronn of the Blackwater becomes Tyrion’s friend and stays loyal to him even when he’s imprisoned and downtrodden.
It pays off big time for Ser Bronn, just as treating your friends well pays off big time in real life.
4. Do Whatever It Takes
Jorah Mormont is a rare soul. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to serve Daenarys, even healing himself from a greyscale infection that is supposedly incurable.
When you are 100% committed to your goals in life, you’ll be willing to do whatever it takes. And that means you will become successful no matter what. Waking up early, working late, running every day—if you’re willing to do whatever it takes to succeed, you will achieve your goals in life.
You can make excuses, or you can go after your goals with 100% commitment. Be like Jorah. Do whatever it takes.
5. Play to Your Strengths in Life
When Daenarys burns the tent down with all the Dothraki warlords inside it, she comes out alive and unburnt. She couldn’t beat them by physical force or persuasion, but using her strength and immunity to fire allowed her to win.
Sometimes in life, it will seem like you’ve lost and there’s nothing you can do to achieve your goals or dreams. But if you focus on your strengths, your gifts, and your talents, you can become a great person and achieve incredible things in life.
6. Believe in Your Dreams
Daenarys believed her dragon eggs would hatch, and eventually she found a way to give birth to her dragons with fire. Everyone thought she was crazy until she had three badass dragons ruling the sky.
Think about someone you admire. Whether it’s Elon Musk, Lebron James, Taylor Swift, or someone else, I guarantee you the reason you admire them is because they had big dreams and went after them. They believed in themselves and did something remarkable with their lives.
You can do something remarkable with your life too. Just believe in your dreams and keep moving forward.
7. Winning is Better Than Looking Good
When Oberyn is in a duel to the death with The Mountain, he thinks he won after slashing The Mountain’s achilles and stabbing him a few times. But The Mountain is tough, and when Oberyn dances around flaunting his supposed victory, he dances for the last time.
Don’t try to look good, impress people, or flaunt your success in life. Just do the right thing and play to win.
If you do the right thing in every situation in life, you will win. You will achieve more than you ever thought possible. But if you get blinded by an addiction to riches, beauty, or fame, you may end up paying the ultimate price just like Oberyn.
8. Just Be Yourself
Arya trains with the Faceless Men and has an opportunity to become one. But along the way she realizes she should never turn her back on her family, and that it’s much better to just be herself instead of trying to be someone else.
Just be yourself in life. You don’t have to pretend to be something you’re not.
It’s perfectly okay and good to just be you. It’s okay to look like you look, think what you think, feel how you feel, experience what you experience, and imagine what you imagine.
Accept yourself just the way you are. There’s only one you, and you only get one life. Don’t waste it trying to live someone else’s life.
9. Never Betray a Friend
When Theon Greyjoy betrays the Starks, he pays dearly for his treachery.
There are a great article and infographic on the many betrayals in Game of Thrones, but suffice it to say that betrayal is a terrible strategy in Game of Thrones and in life.
If you want to succeed in life, never betray a good friend or family member. Sometimes it may seem easier to lie to someone, steal, cheat, or do something behind their back, but you will always pay the price for treachery. It’s uncomfortable, but you know the right thing is to tell the truth, be honest, and speak up when you have an issue with someone.
Betraying them behind their back, though… that’s just wrong.
10. Know Who the Real Enemy Is
While most of the leaders in Game of Thrones are busy fighting each other, the Night’s King grows stronger and threatens to destroy the realm.
In real life, there is good and evil, and we must always be aware of the real enemy: evil in all its forms.
That’s why it’s so important to find your purpose in life, do good, and avoid evil.
The real enemy is inside each of us. It’s that voice that tells us to take the easy path in life. To lie, cheat, or steal. It’s when you ignore your conscience and do something you know you shouldn’t do.
Don’t let evil win.
Do the right thing.
Remember who the real enemy is—it’s that urge to do something you know isn’t right. You can beat it. We can all beat it—together.
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Tom Corson-Knowles is the founder of TCK Publishing, and the bestselling author of 27 books including Secrets of the Six-Figure author. He is also the host of the Publishing Profits Podcast show where we interview successful authors and publishing industry experts to share their tips for creating a successful writing career.