If you're a fan of period drama, you can take some important life lessons from Downton Abbey. It may be fiction, but there are some useful examples to follow. And although it's set a century in the past, people are essentially the same whatever the era. Here are some lessons from Downton Abbey that we can all find useful …
1. Don't Be Indiscreet
One of the lessons from Downton Abbey is that you shouldn' t be indiscreet. Lady Mary's dalliance with the Turkish ambassador threatened to ruin her reputation if anyone found out. Although premarital sex may not raise many eyebrows a century later on, you still have to be cautious. Sexy pics you intend to be private can quickly be passed around on the internet …
2. Facing Opposition
It would be nice if people around us were supportive of everything we do, but that doesn't always happen. Sometimes you have to stand firm for your beliefs, even if others disapprove. As an aristocratic girl, Lady Sybil wasn't expected to take an interest in politics, but she believed in it so much that she defied her father. If something truly matters to you, you will have to confront disapproval.
3. Pursue Your Dreams
Housemaid Gwen longed to leave the grueling work at Downton and work as a secretary. But in that era, class rigidly defined your place in life, and it wasn't that easy to improve your prospects. With the encouragement of Lady Sybil, Gwen achieved her dream. So don't let anyone deter you from achieving your dreams - work hard and you'll get there, however long it takes.
4. Take an Interest in the World
Well-bred girls like the Crawley sisters weren't expected to take an interest in what went on in the outside world. But Lady Sybil realised how important it was - and when the First World War broke out, everyone else was forced to. Learn about politics, the economy and what's happening in the world - they affect us all.
5. Watch out in the Workplace
Downton Abbey below stairs really isn't so different from the modern workplace. There were disagreements between staff and competition over promotion. One even tried to get another fired. Watch out for any co-workers who are jealous of your achievements or try to sabotage your efforts.
6. Show Spirit
Two of the strongest characters in the series are the Dowager Duchess and Mrs Crawley. The Dowager is always ready with a pithy comment and determined to come out on top in any situation. But Mrs Crawley is not going to be put down, and fights back. Like these ladies, be spirited and brave.
7. Everyone is Equal
Downton Abbey's world is one where equality doesn't exist. The lower classes exist to serve their masters. But some of the staff know how unfair this is and want more from life. Treat everyone as your equal - none of us are better or worse than anyone else. And don't think that you're not as good as others, either.
Dramas can be all the more enjoyable when we are able to identify with the characters. In many ways, the people of 1914 weren't really that different from us in 2014, and we can find important lessons in the way the characters behave. Which of the Downton characters is your favorite and why?