Frank Underwood, the genius manipulative mastermind that is the star of the Netflix mega-hit House of Cards, can teach most entrepreneurs a thing or two. In fact, never before in the history of television, has there been a character that actually stops, turns to the audience and delivers his valuable lessons in such a direct manner. We shall look over a few of Frank’s most memorable lines and see how valuable they can be for any entrepreneur.
“The heart can choke the mind when all its blood flows back to itself”
This lesson is an obvious one that seems to slip the minds of even the most successful entrepreneurs. Frank understands that you can never let emotions cloud your decision making process, and so should you. Emotionally made decisions will be the downfall of any venture, startup or business. You must be calculated and use your head. If you don’t feel this is possible, distance yourself and allow a trusted partner or associate to deal on your behalf. Need a practical example? Have you ever received an email that made you mad, only to immediately shoot off a rude reply and later regret it? Exactly!
“In Gaffney we had our own brand of diplomacy: shake with your right hand and hold a rock in your left”
Frank understands the importance of having a plan b up his sleeve. No matter how well things might appear to be going, you must always be ready with a backup plan. Sometimes even an offensive backup plan. Always strive to resolve issues honorably with a win-win solution but be prepared to do what is necessary if circumstances demand it. If you are backed into a corner, it is important that you win, not your competitors. Failure is not an option.
“There is no solace above or below. Only us. Small. Solitary. Striving. Battling one another. I pray to myself. For myself”
Frank doesn’t leave things up to faith and hope for the best. You must realize that your success or failure is the result of your doings. Obviously, luck, good timing and circumstances working in your favor will help. However, surrendering the outcome of your business or startup to faith is as preposterous as D.I.Y brain surgery. At the end of the day, you have yourself and only your self. Take action and actively steer your venture in the direction you desire. When the shit hits the fan, and times get though, you can’t trust your investors, you can’t trust your employees and you can’t trust your managers. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
“The road to power is paved with hypocrisy and casualties. Never regret”
On your path to success, it is almost inevitable, that you are going to step on some peoples toes. In the words of Winston Churchill “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something in your life.” Once your business begins to grow it’s almost inevitable that at some point a trusted partner will turn out to be less trustworthy than you initially expected, or an employee will decide to transfer some of the companies assets to himself. You will have to cut people loose. You may need to fire your best friend. Never regret. Never look back.
“How quickly poor grades are forgotten in the shade of power and wealth”
Frank explains that your past will quickly be forgotten once you are successful. As long as you are not a convicted serial killer, it really doesn’t matter if you finished first of your class at Harvard Law School or if you made your wealth through the use of “street smarts”. Steve Jobs never finished college yet no one can deny his massive impact on out lives. Just think of it this way, even if you graduate or graduated as an average student, you are still doing significantly better than most. Straight A’s guarantee nothing. They will help, but they furnace nothing. Don’t let your grades and your past hold you back. Whether they are good or bad, they will be forgotten once success comes.