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This article was originally
published on Elite Daily.
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If you took “The Lord of the Rings” and added in one part nudity, two parts gore, three parts dragon and subtracted the fellowship, you’d have “Game of Thrones.”
The show is nearing the end of its fourth season, and by now, viewers are pretty familiar with the huge realm filled with all sorts of posers, liars, schemers, sadists and murderers.
The cast of characters are teams of players: They’re all competing in one long, bloody game for the throne, and for power over one another and the kingdom’s subjects.
This game, from the season one opener on, clearly has no rules. Some players push children out of windows if they see too much, while others cut off the heads of men who say too much. Innocent, or at least more innocent, characters suffer at the hands of those players who seize the moment and crush their opponents.
One particularly dangerous player, a pimp who owns a slew of whore houses in King’s Landing and pushes queens out of moon doors, says to a rival, “Do you know what the realm is? It’s a story we agree to tell each other over and over, until we forget that it’s a lie.”
Despite their conflicting motives and end goals, this lie is what the players are building together bit by bit; it’s the appearance of justice and honesty.
Although they plot and betray one another constantly, the players are all really in agreement about one thing: You win the game by lying, cheating, stealing and killing, and the throne is won by dishonesty.
The Game in life:
Obviously, this lying mindset isn’t just limited to fictional characters. We see it rear its ugly head at work, at school, on the news and at home.
Coworkers fudge numbers on their time sheets, bosses take credit for projects they didn't help with, dumb students pump the smart students for test answers and politicians take bribes like it’s their job.
Sure, most of the lies out there are small compared to “Game of Thrones” lies, but that doesn't mean the two are apples and oranges? Lies are meant to misrepresent the facts; that’s the point of them. But why would it be helpful to misrepresent facts to others, or even ourselves?
If people need facts to make judgment calls in a situation, lies are toxic. They slow down, throw off and blind people. So, unless those people are terrorists or a robber trying to steal your stuff, you’re actually just poisoning the person you’re lying to — whether it’s yourself, family members, friends or strangers.
What a lie can and can’t do:
Picture an athlete training for a one-mile run. His trainer asks him his time after he finishes and the athlete lies, subtracting, let’s say, 20 seconds, so that it beats his best record. Great, he’s duped his trainer — for now. But he’s screwed himself for the next time his trainer actually times him.
He’ll have to lie again to cover up that first lie: “Oh, I didn't sleep well last night because I had a test to study for.” “Which test?” “Biology.” “I thought you were on top of your grades.” Then the lies begin to snowball.
Maybe it’s not a big deal, but it keeps getting a little bit bigger. Then, when you think you've handled it, it can come back weeks or months later to bite you. Or worse, you've started lying more in other situations, so a habit is forming.
Cutting corners is self-destructive, and even if you can maintain that facade forever for others (which takes a lot of mental work juggling who knows what), you know the truth.
Even if that athlete’s trainer never does, the athlete knows his real time. It’s never a “no one is looking” scenario. You were looking; you know the truth and aren't you someone?
If being dishonest actually worked, or if it were actually a ladder to long-lasting success, happiness and wealth, there would be way more crooks in the world and way less students, doctors, cops, chefs and artists.
Just ask Prince Joffrey how well dishonesty worked out for him. Oh wait, he was poisoned at his own wedding and universally hated by everyone except his mother (also a huge liar).
See, being a good person actually works in the real world. Don’t play the “Game of Thrones.” Their rules don’t work.
Honesty is a ladder of reputation and confidence. It gives you the ability to see what is and what needs to be done.
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