5 Quotes From Frank Underwood That Prove Success Takes No Prisoners

by John Haltiwanger

January is a tough month. It's cold and dark, the days are short and you're constantly stuck inside. Well, fear not my friends, there's light at the end of the tunnel.

Your favorite homicidal politician is coming back in less than a month! "House of Cards" returns on February 27... and we all need something to look forward to.

While it's true, Frank Underwood might be a cynical sociopath, he also offers a lot of sound advice when it comes to pursuing your goals.

He's ruthless, calculated and extraordinarily pragmatic. Underwood might seem heartless and immune to compassion, but he's also incredibly perceptive and emotionally intelligent.

He uses these abilities to manipulate people, of course, but that doesn't mean they're not valuable qualities.

Frank Underwood is a man who should terrify and disgust all of us, but admit it: You admire him. He's a sadistic, selfish and destructive individual, but observing his meticulous and deliberate pursuit of power is intoxicating.

We all secretly wish we could somehow muster the uncompromising willpower he so effortlessly displays.

Fortunately, most of us are decent people who aren't prepared to deceive and kill people in order to achieve success.

If you are willing to overlook his more sinister qualities, though, Underwood is a character who can teach you a great deal about what to desire in life and how to acquire it.

Here are five quotes from Frank Underwood that'll inspire you to claw your way to the top:

1. "Shake with your right hand, but hold a rock in your left."

Give respect where respect is due, but don't be afraid to defend yourself when necessary. This isn't to say you should respond to disrespect with physical force, but you should always have a fighter's spirit.

Remain cognizant of the fact that there are many deceitful people out there. Give everyone you meet the benefit of the doubt, while also acknowledging people's capacity to betray you.

This will ensure no one ever takes advantage of you. The world is a delicate balance of light and darkness, and people are no exception.

2. "If you don't like how the table is set, turn over the table."

We mold our own realities. Don't sit there and complain when you aren't satisfied with the way things are going; this reaction is useless. Realize you're in complete control of your destiny. No one else can force you to do anything. Action and inaction are both conscious choices.

We can either remain static and watch the world float past us, or stand up and meet it head on. Dissatisfaction in life is a product of falling victim to the illusion that the choices before us are finite.

Never lose sight of the fact the universe is full of endless possibilities.

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

We live in an inherently competitive world. This doesn't necessarily mean this competition is always occurring between different people. Your greatest adversary is yourself, so be ruthless. If you want to outdo someone, outdo yourself.

You'll never face a greater opponent than your own mind, so show no mercy. When you face obstacles, your mind will tell you lies, and it will make you second-guess your capabilities. Don't listen.

A true hunter never lets fear and self-doubt stand between him and his prey. Don't give in to panic and irrationality, they will lead you astray. Conquer yourself, and all of your fears, insecurities and doubts, and you'll conquer the world.

The fight for your mind is the greatest battle you'll face.

4. "Money is the McMansion in Sarasota that starts falling apart after 10 years. Power is the old stone building that stands for centuries. I cannot respect someone who doesn’t see the difference."

Don't waste your life chasing superficial and materialistic notions of success.

Money provides you with the ability to acquire finite materials. Power provides you with the ability to dictate the direction of society.

Success is about creating something to stand the test of time; it's a product of fostering observable transformations in the world.

People can't buy their way into history. You have to build a legacy, it can't be purchased. Money is fleeting, power is enduring.

5. "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."

We can either learn from pain or let it destroy us.

Self-pity and negativity are perhaps the most futile human emotions. They're a self-imposed form of pain only serving to deplete us of energy and motivation.

We will all face challenges in life, and we will all experience pain. We can either feel sorry for ourselves, or use the pain as a source of learning and strength.

Failure is painful, for example, but it's also extremely valuable and enlightening. It teaches us we aren't invincible, while simultaneously exposing our flaws. In order to grow stronger, we first have to recognize, acknowledge and improve upon our weaknesses.

Don't allow yourself to fall victim to useless pain.