Two lessons from Sansa Stark

Game of Thrones premiered the first episode of the final season. I binged watched the whole series from the beginning, this would be like 5th or 6th viewing for me. A lot of episodes are well produced, written and directed.

So many characters to root for and hate on. My personal favorite is the character arc of Sansa Stark. Through the series I go from hating her annoying demands to respecting her. Even Arya agrees with me, as seen in the recent most episode.

There are a lot of lessons to learn from Game of Thrones. Here are the two most important ones that come from following Sansa Stark:

1. Think in probabilities

Sansa has learned from the best in Westeros including Cersei, The Hound, Joffrey, Tyrion and, Lord Baelish.

She’s spent most her time with Petyr Baelish and he has taught her some of the most important lessons to survive the great game. One of those lessons happens in season 7 in Winterfell.

He tells her: “Don’t fight in the North or the South. Fight every battle everywhere, always, in your mind. Everyone is your enemy, everyone is your friend. Every possible series of events is happening all at once. Live that way and nothing will surprise you. Everything that happens will be something that you’ve seen before.” (Watch here)

A lot of times we find ourselves thinking in binary. If you make a decision it will either be good or bad. But we fail to take into account all the possible outcomes in between. There are probabilities associated with every possible outcome including and in between good and bad.

Thinking about a range of possible outcome by changing all the possible variables, forces us to ponder deeply about a problem and improve the quality of our decisions. This will also avoid resulting, where we tend to blame/appreciate our decisions by looking at the outcome, when in truth, our desired/undesired outcomes are just one in the array of possible outcomes.

2. Second-order thinking

Second order thinking forces us to dig deeper into our beliefs. Episode 1 of season 8 gives a great example of second-order thinking showcased by Sansa.

The scene takes place in the great hall of Winterfell just after Jon and Danny have arrived Winterfell with a huge army.

Danny and Jon: We have brought the Unsullied, Dothraki and 2 dragons, the biggest army Westeros has ever seen!

Sansa: How am I going to feed them?

That is a great example of second-order thinking!

Jon and Danny are operating based on First Order Thinking.
Their thought process of first order: We need a great army to defeat the Night King.

While Sansa digs deeper by considering how will we support this huge army while we wait for the Night King.

First-order thinking is:

  • Simplistic
  • Superficial
  • Everyone can do it

Second-order thinking is:

  • Deep
  • Complex
  • Convoluted

I had had to bet on who’s going to win the Game of Thrones, I would put my money on Sansa. While, there is a range of outcomes for who will sit on the Iron Throne, the probability of Sansa getting there is pretty high! 🙂

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