5 Lessons On Entrepreneurship From Game Of Thrones
Season 8, the final season of the fantasy drama HBO television series, Game of Thrones, premiered recently on 14 April 2019. And though we’ll say goodbye to Westeros and all our favourite characters – Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister, and so on – in the weeks to come, we can keep the lessons it imparts through its stories of love, loyalty, betrayal, revenge, politics, and more.
Here are 5 lessons on entrepreneurship we can all learn from Game of Thrones:
1. Turn your weakness into your strength
Tyrion Lannister and Jon Snow’s meeting in Season 1 Episode 1: Winter is Coming is iconic. Any Game of Thrones fan will definitely remember this moment. At first, Tyrion appears to be a simple, sex-crazed dwarf without a care in the world. But when Jon Snow defensively asks Tyrion what he knew about being a bastard, Tyrion delivers this line that shows off his actual wisdom and wit:
“Never forget what you are, the rest of the world will not. Wear it like armour and it can never be used to hurt you.” — Tyrion Lannister
There may be things you wish you could change, but can’t. In Tyrion’s case, it’s his dwarfism, and in Jon’s case, it’s his state of being an illegitimate son. Tyrion teaches us to embrace who we are, and to turn our weaknesses into strengths.
As an entrepreneur, this helps you identify new opportunities, unlock your potential, become better, and build a better brand or product.
2. Innovate, disrupt, and challenge the norm
Daenerys Targaryen is a formidable character in Game of Thrones. There are many instances in the TV series where she says something powerful or profound. In Season 5 Episode 8: Hardhome, she talks to Tyrion Lannister about the power struggle between the Great Houses – Lannister, Targaryen, Baratheon, Stark, Tyrell. She tells him her goal:
I’m not going to stop the wheel. I’m going to break the wheel.” – Daenerys Targaryen
Something we can take away from this is that if something doesn’t work, change it. And that’s what entrepreneurship is all about. It’s about creating continuous, extraordinary value, and continuous innovation.
You should never stay the same for long. Always look at what you can improve, and how you can do better. And if something doesn’t work, change it. Don’t be afraid to challenge the norm.
Look at Grab, for example. It was recently name the 2nd most innovative company in the world. It started out as a taxi-booking app back in 2012, and has now expanded into an everyday app, which includes food delivery and travel booking.
3. Be authentic
Season 7 Episode 7: The Dragon and the Wolf sees the beginning of The Great War. After a failed negotiation for an alliance with Cersei, Tyrion tells Jon how lying and telling her what she wanted to hear would’ve helped them secure the alliance to battle the Night King and his Army of the Dead. To which Jon replies,
“I’m not going to swear an oath I can’t uphold. When enough people make false promises, words stop meaning anything. Then there are no more answers, only better and better lies.” – Jon Snow
As an entrepreneur, your word is your bond and honour. This is especially important in the world of business.
Every time you break a promise or go back on your word, you lose someone’s trust and confidence in you. Building credibility for yourself isn’t easy, so never promise something you can’t deliver, and don’t say things you don’t mean.
Do the right thing and put your people first before profitability. This will help you build a strong, loyal following just like Jon Snow, which paves the way for you to build a successful business.
4. Learn from every failure
Arya Stark is a resilient character known for her infamous kill list of people who have wronged her family. This can be seen when she quotes her sword fighting instructor, Syrio Forel, in Season 1 Episode 4: Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things:
“Every hurt is a lesson, and each lesson makes you better.” – Arya Stark
Failure is natural. All entrepreneurs face it. In fact, you will fail 9 out of 10 times. What sets you apart from the rest is how you choose to react to it. Successful entrepreneurs like Richard Branson accept failure as lessons learned and keep moving forward in whatever they’re doing. After all, life is a constant learning process. So enjoy the ride!
5. Always do your research
Littlefinger is a cunning manipulator who often goes to great (and even unethical) lengths to get what he wants. That being said, he is a clever character with many insightful things to say, one of which he shares in Season 1 Episode 7: You Win or You Die:
“What we don’t know is what usually gets us killed.” – Petyr Baelish
This is true in the real world of business as well. Not knowing your customers and competitors can lead to the death of your business.
The lack of research is a common mistake made by most entrepreneurs.
Never make any assumptions. Always do your due diligence by making market research a priority. You need to know who your customers are and what they want, as well as who your competitors will be. All this information helps you determine what and how you will sell.
So remember… Research, research, research!
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