Lessons from TV

Colin Ramparsadh, Business Unit Director at The MediaShop

Over the years we have learned a lot from TV, despite our parents often despairing that the hours and hours spent in front of the box instead of studying would ruin our lives! There is some merit in watching television though – let me explain.

In the 1970’s we had Little House on The Prairie, it was all about the importance of family values. The series tackled issues around faith, poverty and prejudice amongst others, but the basic message was to always do the right thing.

In the 1980’s we were introduced to Knight Rider and for the first time, to artificial intelligence. To us in the 80’s the focus was on how cool the talking car was! The series saw Michael Knight and Kitt fighting the bad guys and bringing justice to the world but what was the lesson? Kitt was Michael’s inner voice, his alter ego showing him what to do. Michael trusted Kitt. The lesson is that our inner voice, our instincts and gut are important. They help us make sense of a situation. Trust it like Michael trusted Kitt. It never let him down.

During the 1990’s we were treated to the A-Team. Hannibal Smith, BA, Face and Murdoch entertained us for hours with their antics. What were the lessons? In Hannibal we learned that we can get out of any situation by ensuring we had a plan. Face could talk himself out of anything. BA just bulldozed his way through. And Murdoch? Well, you gave in because he would drive you crazy.

Let’s not forget MacGyver. He was a problem solver. He could accomplish anything with his Swiss army knife, duct tape, paper clips, chewing gum, flashlight and his toolbox. He demonstrated that sometimes the simplest of tools can accomplish the most difficult tasks.

There are many more examples of other programmes that we can mention over the years but let’s fast forward to present day. Three notable programmes that are worth mentioning include Game of ThronesThe Blacklist and Ted Lasso.

In Game of Thrones, we had many characters who had really good leadership qualities and displayed righteousness. But for this blog we will hone in on Tyrion Lannister. He was a character that displayed both the good and the dark side of life but the lessons were invaluable.

Here are some.

  • Never stop reading and learning. “A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone”.
  • Have a sense of humour. Tyrion’s sharp sense of humour is what kept him alive through his dark periods.
  • Be confident. Tyrion’s sharp tongue is another of his greatest assets and has saved his life more than once. It’s about confidence. How we portray ourselves.
  • Embrace opportunities. Tyrion has a close encounter with the dragons and becomes an ally of Daenerys. Sometime opportunities stare us in the face and we don’t take them. Tyrion walked through the unknown and formed a lasting alliance.
  • Change your tactics. Tyrion employs trial by combat on two occasions and the first time it works but the second it doesn’t and he is sentenced to death. Not all strategies work. Find the right one. Don’t force a fit.

In Blacklist, Raymond Reddington offers many lessons.

  • Always tell a compelling story with absolute passion and charm. Reddington could tell a story about his kindergarten days with flair and panache.
  • Loyalty first. He appreciates and rewards loyalty.
  • Networking. He is the ultimate networker and can get into any place including the White House to see the President.
  • Stay calm and cool. Reddington is always calm. He has a plan for every situation.
  • Know when to walk away. Reddington knows how to do this. If it doesn’t feel right don’t do it.

In Ted Lasso we find an American Football coach having to a coach a British Football team. Two completely different games requiring a different skill set. But how does Ted Lasso do it?

  • Enjoy the process. Ted was clearly out of his league. He didn’t know the first thing about how the Brits played football but that didn’t matter. He surrounded himself with people who knew. His job as he saw it was to create an environment for the team to succeed. He made people better both on and off the field.
  • The tactics he employed were unorthodox. He brought in his American football experience to the British game.
  • He believed in people. He used Nate’s false 9 approach even though he knew it may not work. But he trusted his players and he trusted Nate, even though he knew his intentions were not honourable.
  • He listened to everyone including May who served him his beer. Take advice and be vulnerable.
  • It’s about humility. You will never be an expert at everything and you don’t have to be. Surround yourself with the right people, people who are not afraid to tell the truth.
  • The power of surprise. Ted uses innovative plays to confuse the opposition. Our best tools show us how to innovate and be ahead of the competition.
  • Believe. Ted had one motto and hung it in the locker room “BELIEVE” that’s all he had. We need to believe in our team and work together.

There is a lot more we can learn from TV but to conclude:

  • Remember the power of family values.
  • Use your instinct and listen to your inner voice.
  • The simplest tools are sometimes the best to solve a problem.
  • Never stop learning.
  • Be confident. Be calm and change your tactics if they not working.
  • Know when to walk away.
  • Surround yourself with the right people.
  • Be vulnerable, believe and enjoy the process.

“ 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 – Game of Thrones

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