The Long War (Game of Thrones S:7 Ep:3 wisdom)
**Small Spoiler alert**
In the third episode of the greatest television series in history, Theon Greyjoy is rescued from being lost at sea. If you’ve never watched the show, then I do not have time to explain the entire backstory here, but I will provide a little context. In the previous episode, Theon, his sister, and his countrymen, who are in rebellion to their uncle, the King of the Iron Islands were attacked by him. Their uncle’s name is Euron Greyjoy. After an intense but quick battle in the dark and stormy evening, Euron captures Theon’s sister and spited Theon to come and take her back. After an elaborate internal conflict that takes Theon back to the days when he was severely tortured and mutilated by another one of the show’s characters, Theon reverts back to the cowardice that has plagued his life for so long now and fled by diving into the sea; leaving his sister in the hands of his murderous uncle. When his fellow Greyjoys that were allied to his sister and his claim to the throne brought him aboard shivering from the freezing waters, they asked him what happened. He told them that their ships came under attack and the king took his sister. He says that he tried to save her, but he couldn’t. The captain of the ship, with the rest of the crew in attendance, replies with a brilliant and rightful response— “If you had tried, you wouldn’t be here.” The rest of the ship gives silent confirmation of this rebuke and walks away, returning to their duties.
If you had tried, you wouldn’t be here. How many times have we wound up just like Theon? Broken, defeated, giving in to cowardice and fear, and fleeing from our problems. How many times do we take the easy road out instead of standing up to our problems, challenges, and difficulties. We wake up the next day or the next hour, just as Theon was — lost, confused, hopeless, ashamed, and worse off than we started.
In that second, where Theon surrendered to fear and ran away. He confirmed what that one little self loathing part of our mind always tells us. “You are not good enough.” He surrendered the most powerful force that humans posses — belief. He gave up belief in himself. The only invulnerable part of us, the only thing that can withstand an infinite amount of attacks from the enemy, the only thing that cannot be defeated by outside forces. We are the only ones who hold the power to terminate or birth it. When we give up belief in ourselves, that brings us to rock bottom. A place of no support, no light, and no hope. The only things that resides there are the corrosive, mirky, cumbersome, and desolate waters of self-pity, sorrow, shame, and helplessness. A place that is difficult and painful to surface from, but is necessary if we are to get back on track towards the things we seek.
How do we wash ourselves off from the stains and stench of defeat or failure? How do we dust ourselves off, pick ourselves back up, and start moving again towards that which we want? By first realizing that we are all human, and by definition, we will err, we will lose, we will stumble, and we will fall. Also knowing that this is not the last time you will find yourselves here. With that knowledge, you will be able to more easily shake off those thoughts that are preventing you from getting up again because it is easy to think that failure is an affliction unique to you and not something that every human since the beginning of time has had to deal with. Every celebrity, every leader, every priest, every saint, every visionary, every revolutionary, everyone will and has fallen short. Failure is not absolute, it lasts as long as you allow it. It lasts precisely as long as it takes for you to start working towards your next victory. It lasts exactly as long as it takes you to begin fighting again. So by realizing that literally everyone has done it, it becomes easier to stand up again. With this in mind, you must then pick back up the flag of belief that you lost in yourself. The flag that represents why you were on this journey, what you were fighting for, and how great it felt to be fighting for this cause — your cause. Wherever you last left it on your journey, you must return there and again bind it to your side with all the energy, dedication, and drive that you have, because it will continually serve as the engine to your endeavors, the fuel of your fire, and the purpose of your struggles. With it back in hand and your mind renewed, you will be able to fight again.
We are at war with the things that are against us in our paths to success. If we are to conquer our fears, triumph against the challenges in our lives, and best the failures that have plagued us for so long, we cannot keep on running away from them. We cannot kneel down before them and declare them lord over our lives, we must stand and face them with all that we have, even if we do not have the force, the might, the power, or the energy to defeat them. We must still fight, because in fighting, we will improve ourselves, in fighting, we will fortify our resolve, in fighting, we will amass a stronger cause, in fighting, we will deepen the convictions of our heart and energize our future efforts agains this evil, in fighting, the flags of our purpose will become an even stronger beacon of light and driving force of our wills. And even if they do best us from time to time, which they most certainly will, we will at least have our dignity, our self respect, our values, and our hope because we know that in the long war against our failures and challenges, we will never stop being in open rebellion against them. We will never stop strategizing, mobilizing, and deploying our energies towards defeating their endless forces. On every front, in every way, through any means, do whatever you can whenever you can to never stop pushing against that which opposes you.
“Do or do not, there is no try” – Yoda
Song in the video is Dance With Me by Marvin Gaye. I will be more succinct and to the point in the future as I get better at making these videos!