Josh Sway
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Articles advice from Josh

/ Kill the King!

Don't hesitate to break patterns and become more compelling and interesting.


I’m a big fan of Game of Thrones. But while I’ve always been a medieval/fantasy geek, I’ve been surprised about how many people I know that love the show that aren’t otherwise interested in that genre.

Why is this? I have a theory, which is that Game of Thrones has one key plot difference that almost every other TV drama lacks: a willingness to kill the main characters. The show set the tone early since the first season, when Ned Stark’s head was unceremoniously separated from his body. Ned was arguably “the” main character in the ensemble cast, and just like that, he was gone. His character was dead.

But the show moved on, and was even more compelling than before. This allows Game of Thrones to build suspense and drama in a way that almost every other TV show can’t. All bets are off. Any character, no matter how integral to the plot, is at risk to be here one second and gone the next. What other TV show can you say that about? Peripheral characters may come and go, but for the most part you know there’s no chance the main cast will go anywhere. The show may put them in extremely difficult situations, but just when you’re about to be on the edge of your seat, part of your brain says, “Wait. They’ll get out of this. They have to. They’re in the opening credits! The show writers can’t kill them off!”

What Does This Have to Do With, Well, Anything?

Don’t worry, JoshSway.com isn’t going to turn into a Game of Thrones fan site. I’m mentioning this because I think this is a very important concept not just with TV shows, but pretty much everything.

Don’t be afraid to kill the king.

In this case, “the king” is a metaphor for your approach to women. In other words: if your life was a TV show, would it be a riveting and compelling drama, or a 30-minute police procedural with a predictable plot?

As humans, we all have a tendency to fall into the same patterns. You sit in the same seat in class, you take the same route to work, you use the same opening lines with women, and you go to the same place on every first date. You do these things because it worked in the past and you see no reason to stop doing them. Why change it up? If have decent results with a pattern, why change the pattern?

But do you want your life to be Game of Thrones or CSI? You know what you’re getting with CSI. Someone will be murdered, the ace homicide team will investigate, they’ll use absurdly advanced technology on stupidly obscure evidence, one detective will hit on the medical examiner, another detective will argue with his ex-wife, and the murderer will be found after 44 minutes and 5 commercial breaks. Will you be decently entertained? Probably. But will you actually be interested? Probably not.

The king is dead, long live the king!

You don’t want your life to be an episode of CSI. You want it to be Game of Thrones: riveting and compelling. And the most direct way to do this is to break patterns.

Try this the next time you’re at a restaurant. The waitress will come up to your table and say something like “how are you all doing tonight?” or “can I get you all started with some drinks?” 99% of her patrons will say “we’re doing good” or start ordering drinks.

So instead, wait a beat, and then ask, “how are you?”

Chances are they will be completely caught off-guard. They may even be flustered. Because you just broke a pattern. They were basically running on autopilot, the same way you can watch a CSI show by only half-paying attention to it. But then you just broke the pattern, chopped off Ned Stark’s head, and forced them to engage with you on a much stronger level. Chances are the server will like your table a lot more and probably even give you better service. Don’t read too much into this – they are a Hired Gun after all – but this is a great and simple way to test what I mean.

Hopefully see how you can easily extend this to dating. Every so often, don’t do what you usually do. Change it up. Throw the plot in a completely new direction. Specific to women, here are some examples.

  • Approach a woman that’s not normally your “type.”
  • Go to a place you wouldn’t normally go to meet women.
  • Use a much different opener than what you usually do.
  • Whatever your haircut or clothing style, try something different.
  • Go on a different first date than what you usually do.

It will be unfamiliar and uncomfortable at first, just like it wasn’t exactly easy watching Ned Stark’s head rolling around on your TV screen. But it may be exactly the thing that will make you a more compelling person and make the difference in a woman’s interest level in you or not.

 Breaking patterns too often is still a pattern

Like almost all the other advice we give on JoshSway.com, a “don’t go overboard” rule applies here. Game of Thrones doesn’t gratuitously kill off major characters every episode. If they did, it would be just as predictable as all the TV shows that don’t kill any characters off at all! You would tune in and think, “well, who’s going to die this week?” which would naturally destroy any whoa factor that killing off a character normally provides.

Furthermore, it shouldn’t even be possible for you to break patterns all the time. Breaking patterns is not just being “spontaneous” or “random.” It should be a deliberate and calculated move that fits into the larger plot of your life. If you always take girls out to dinner on the first date, you can easily break that pattern by taking them somewhere else. But that new place should still follow the guidelines of good logistics. Going to an aquarium instead of dinner for a date is just being random. But going out for drinks at a bar with a cool live band is breaking a pattern.

And if that band plays a cover the Game of Thrones soundtrack, even better.





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