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7 Things House of Cards Taught Me About Success

7 Things House of Cards Taught Me About Success

Success demands a thought-out strategy and an ability to outmaneuver your opponents by thinking several steps ahead. No one illustrates those traits better than Frank Underwood, a man who stopped at nothing to quench his thirst for power in the Netflix smash hit, “House of Cards.” Keep on reading to discover what President Underwood can teach you about success.

1. Success demands honest reflection and transformation.

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.

Successful people don’t stagger through life as a mere spectator. They actively improve their situation every day by confronting their problems without hesitation. I have to confess that writing is my emotional outlet of choice. Expressing my fears and frustrations in words helps me overcome them and evolve into the person I am meant to be. Start a daily journal to cope with your present troubles and leap forward into a better future.

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2. Success demands mental strength and an unstoppable attitude.

From this moment on, you are a rock. You absorb nothing, you say nothing, and nothing breaks you.

Successful people don’t agonize over negative feedback. They are aware that it would be silly to expect all people to appreciate their work. While they are always open to constructive criticism, they don’t justify personal attacks with a response.

3. Success demands a clear perception of who you hope to serve.

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.

Successful people avoid the temptation to pander to whatever crowd crosses their path, because nobody likes a phony. Instead, they focus their energry on creating an authentic emotional connection with the people they can relate with most.

4. Success demands consistent effort and a refusal to quit.

For those climbing to the top of the food chain, there can be no mercy. There is but one rule: hunt or be hunted.

Successful people don’t stop when they are tired. They stop when they have won. They strive to identify innovative solutions to common problems that remain unsolved, resulting in a revolving door of exciting opportunities and adventures.

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5. Success demands a generous nature and the earning of trust.

Keep being valuable. That’s the best way to show your gratitude.

Successful people don’t expect to be trusted before they have earned it. They give until it hurts, because they know that creating value is the best way to win a person’s trust.

6. Success demands a willingness to overcome resistance.

Friends make the worst enemies.

Successful people don’t automatically label their competitors as “enemies,” but they are willing to push through resistance if their philosophy runs against the accepted “status quo.” When the odds feel insurmountable, they remind themselves of their passion and resolve to remain firm in their conviction.

7. Success demands creativity and an ability to innovate.

“Democracy is so overrated.”

Successful people don’t flinch if they face temporary defeat. They know that failure is an unavoidable part of the evolution process. Success isn’t reserved for a special kind of person, but it can’t be expected without dedication and a burning desire to excel.

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While Frank Underwood’s methods might be ruthless, you can’t argue with the results of his cold and calculated nature. I feel his lessons could be applied in a more positive fashion for success in your business and life. What do you think? Tell us in the comments. And if you’re friends with any fellow “House of Cards” fans, make sure to invite them to the conversation by clicking the share button.

First published in Medium – 7 Things House of Cards Taught Me about Success.

Featured photo credit: Kevin Spacey in House of Cards/Netflix via salon.com

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Daniel Wallen

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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