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Contrary to popular imagination, Vikings were more than just lice-ridden barbarians or frothing-at-the-mouth-berserkers. What they were is brilliantly portrayed (sort of!) in the TV show Vikings, which first aired in 2013, and has since gotten audiences hooked on the chronicles of King Ragnar Lothbrok.

Each season the show has grown to be more complex and ambitious, and has developed characters that appeal to the audience. So, what can we learn from the Viking King who became legendary for his conquests in England and France?

Men nowadays forget that before there was the TV remote, the sword was held in its stead. Fortunately, grit can be re-learned and toughness regained, which is why here we are going to talk about the lessons that we can learn from the Vikings.

Be Ambitious

Ambition is the calling of one’s soul. It is the inner voice which tells you where your life should be headed. For the Vikings, this meant conquering other lands or becoming king. While the possibilities are limitless, the world we live in today labels ambition as an act of selfishness. But the fact is that it is ambition that has provided mankind with every technological and medical breakthrough we have been granted throughout history, which we now take for granted.

Ambition is what shapes the world, and when a man of pure thoughts aligns his ambition with his goal, the rest of the world is the one who benefits. In that way, Vikings teach us to conquer, rise, and expand above our current status. It is in the nature of man to want more, conquer, expand, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Stay Focused

One of the coolest things of the TV show is its portrayal of the Viking’s ability to be quite successful and sometimes ingenious at building boats and other contraptions that they would need to succeed. From Floki building the boats that made the journey of the Scandinavian warriors possible, to Ragnar’s badass idea of pulling their ships up a cliff, Vikings knew how to stay focused on the goal.

Nowadays, staying focused is easier said than done. But, the Vikings show us that there was a time when people used to focus on what they were doing at the time, instead of texting, stalking their exes on Facebook, watching ASMR videos on YouTube, while pretending to look busy at the office. There was a time when people used to focus on the task as hand, such as sailing, raiding, and pillaging.

In today’s society wrought with hyper technology, tuning out from the internet and other technologies is rarely an option. Or is it? Newsflash: multi-tasking is a myth, it doesn’t work because it was never meant to. When you’re working, just work. Don’t talk on the phone, or surf the internet, or send tweets. Focus on the one thing you are doing, complete it, then move on to the next.

Become a Hard Man (or Woman, Shieldmaidens were badass too)

No, this does not mean become a douche. The key to becoming a “hard” man (or woman) is to use the repetitive harshness of your environment to become tougher and more resilient. Vikings lived in very harsh climate. They grew crops and built colonies in an environment where it was difficult to do so, and that’s what made them tough.

So, what can you do? Hit the gym for an hour. Well, that works, but it only lasts an hour. That’s not all you’ll need to develop thick skin. But what you can do is always take the hard road. It may not be the most appealing way, but doing what’s tougher will make you tougher. Walk instead of taking the car if where you have to go is close by. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Do not shy away from choosing the tougher path, and you will be as tough as a Viking in no time.