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The path and the outcome

"The 3rd of September. That's a date which matters. It's the day, three decades past, that a red neck from Gaffney married a debutant from Dallas, and the Earth's axis tilted that day. Though neither they, nor we, knew it at the time. Here's a woman who described her vows as a suicide flirting with a bridge's edge. And a man who wears his wedding ring as a badge of shame, for the debutant deserved more. But truly, what more could she desire? Together they rule an empire without heirs. Legacy is their only child. A cold fusion of two universal elements. Identical in weight, equal in force. United they stand. A union like none other. The un-splittable atom of American politics."
- Thomas Yates of House of Cards [from his book]

Thomas Yates, a character in Netflix's House of Cards, who is hired by Frank Underwood (played by Kevin Spacey) to write a book about him that will help swing the vote in his Presidential campaign, writes this and hands it to Frank for his review. Next thing, he's fired. 

This paragraph makes for a riveting opening that sets the tone for something un-put-down-able. But, definitely doesn't paint the image of a future US President. 

One would think there are many ways of getting what they want. I used to think so too. But, now I've started to think that's not necessarily true. There have been a few instances in my own life that I can draw an analogy from, but nothing was as convincing as this paragraph by Tom Yates. 

On paper, there might be many ways of getting what you want. But once you start down a path, there is only one place that path will take you and as you start walking down the path, you will soon realise what you want is what is at the end of the path. If it isn't, you change your path, and start wanting what's at the end of it. The choice of path is actually the choice of the outcome. The relentless lobbying, calculated scheming, ruthless manipulating and cold-hearted execution is the path leading Claire and Frank Underwood to success, until Claire starts questioning the outcome, and as a result, the path. 

Success is when you have internalized both path and outcome. Mediocrity is when you have internalized only one of them, or worse, neither. 

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