'House of Cards': 10 Hard Knock Life Lessons

In case you haven’t heard, the Netflix original House of Cards has taken over internet bandwidth and turned “binge watching” into a socially acceptable date night activity. Rather than going out on Friday or Saturday nights, thousands of people are having parties to discuss the latest scandals from the hot political thriller.

Within the first week of the second season’s launch, nearly 600,000 people had completed the entire 13-episode season, roughly 7% of all Netflix subscribers. For those who haven’t watched the entire season yet, Netflix has reported that the average viewer watches the episodes in groups of three at a time for US viewers and five at a time for UK watchers.

What’s the secret to the show’s success? For one, the show is very content rich, which users love. If you enjoy political thrillers, a sexy cast, and lots of drama, this show is for you. In addition, each season has been offered in its entirety to Netflix subscribers, making it very easy to be sucked into watching five episodes and forgetting about doing laundry for the evening.

Kevin Spacey (Frank Underwood) is also pivotal to the show’s success. Underwood, a slick Congressman from South Carolina, takes pride in his roots, along with his political tact to get what he wants. Alongside with his wife, Claire (Robin Wright), the Underwood’s have shown time and time again just how far they are willing to go in order to achieve their goals.

If you can see through Frank’s political ambitions and all the background noise, Frank offers valuable lessons that almost anybody can take advantage of. Here are some of the best pieces of advice from Frank in the first two seasons of House of Cards.

10 “There are two kinds of pain: the sort of pain that makes you strong, or useless pain; the sort of pain that’s only suffering. I have no patience for useless things.”

Pain may be uncomfortable, but it is an essential emotion in order for us to grow on an emotional level. Whether it is a bad breakup, the loss of a loved one, or the departure of your best friend, it’s natural to go through pain.

However, it’s also important not to get too caught up in your emotions. After a while, it’s time to pick up the pieces and move on. Once you get past the initial pain, it is crucial not to let the useless pain be drawn out into something much larger. The next time you face any sort of pain, go through the motions, hit the reset button, and get on with it. There is more to life than crying over spilt milk.

9 “There’s no better way to overpower a trickle of doubt than with a flood of naked truth.”

Frank Underwood House of Cards

Apprehension and doubt will always be in the back of our minds, it’s a fact of life. Whether you’re stressing over a change of career or what to eat for dinner, don’t let it get to you. In order to confront your doubt you need to put all the options out on the table and be honest with yourself.

Ask yourself what are you trying to achieve, are you capable of achieving that goal? And what are your options? By doing so, you will become honest with yourself and clear up your previously clouded judgment.

8 “Insecurity bores me.”

The shortest life lesson from Frank Underwood also happens to be one of the most powerful so far. Similar to doubt, everybody will be insecure at some point in their lives, its how you react to that insecurity that sets you apart from the crowd.

Listen up ladies, men like women who show confidence, just as you like men with a little bit of confidence as well. Being insecure won’t help you to get any numbers at the bar and it certainly won’t help you during any job interview. Own who you are and what your qualities are, and you will be able to reach your goals. Remember, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.

7 “Power is a lot like real estate. It’s all about location, location, location. The closer you are to the source, the higher your property value.”

In the job market, we all know it’s not what you know, but who you know. However, it is important for you not to brown nose your way to a promotion either. By positioning yourself amongst your superiors and being yourself, you stand a much better chance of moving up than the “yes man” from accounting.

Even if your boss has come to rely on your input but you don’t have the corner office yet, don’t panic. If your boss is asking you for your input, it means he values your opinion. Rome wasn’t built in a day and no CEO was promoted in their first week, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride to the top.

6 ”Friends make the worst enemies.”

This is one of the most overlooked lessons that I have gathered from House of Cards so far. It’s one thing to pick fights with somebody you have a bad relationship with; it’s another to do it against somebody who knows you on a personal level. Picking fights won’t get you friends, but it sure will help you lose some.

Don’t let a little beef get in the way between you and your friends, they probably have more ammo in their arsenal against you than you think. Take care of your relationships and don’t burn bridges; you never know when you may need them to help you out down the line.

5 “Generosity is its own form of power.”

Also known as Karma, this is one lesson that is sure to bite you in the backside if you don’t pay attention. As you go through life, it’s not always about doing things because there is something in it for you. Be kind to others and treat them the way you want to be treated.

By helping out those that are down on their luck, you will not only look good to your peers, but the person you help will also remember that act of kindness. Who knows, maybe down the line that person will become the CEO of a fortune 500 company and offer you a job. It may be far-fetched, but it sure did for Don Charlton, the founder of “The Resumator”, one of the fastest start-ups in the United States today.

4 “I never make such big decisions so long after sunset and so far from dawn.”

Take notes people, you need your rest! While it may be difficult for some to leave their work at the office, try your best to do so. Your spouse probably doesn’t want you to bring it home. For those of you that can’t seem to do that, avoid making big decisions late at night and in the wee hours of the morning after you’ve been up all night.

Listen to your intuition and sleep on making a decision, unless you absolutely have to. Come back to the problem refreshed the next day and take it on head on, not when you have had 8 cups of coffee and haven't had a solid meal in 12 hours.

3 “Treading water is the same as drowning for people like you and me.”

It is imperative to not settle for mediocrity. Continue to set goals for yourself and keep your eyes on the prize. Far too many people out there get complacent with their lives and stop pursuing what they originally set out for.

Met your goal? Shoot for a bigger one. Even if you fail to reach it, you are still moving forward and never standing still. Frank shows how to set goals, evaluate, and progress- a process that many of us need to start doing a little more of.

2 “Money is the Mc-mansion in Sarasota that starts falling apart after 10 years. Power is the old stone building that stands for centuries.”

Frank makes calculated moves to get what he wants, and there is no reason you can't plan for the long term either. Perhaps someday your goal is to save a million dollars, or maybe you want to buy a Porsche before you're 40. Set your sights on the prize down the road and continue to plan accordingly for it.

Work your way into that promotion and put that extra money away in a savings account. There are plenty of people that are rich, but they may not necessarily be wealthy. That old stone building will be well worth the wait, just have faith and stay the course.

1 “The nature of promises, Linda, is that they remain immune to changing circumstances.”

Be a man of your word, it’s really as simple as that. Gone are the days of a handshake sealing the deal, but that doesn’t mean you can renege on promises you’ve made. Even if the circumstances have changed, that shouldn’t change the fact that you gave your word.

Find a way to make things right and follow through with what you say. It may take some finagling, but having the ability to keep your word can speak volumes for your character, especially in a time when it seems that integrity is now gone.

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