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What We Can All Learn From Breaking Bad’s Walt White

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

I’m not a meth dealer. I don’t know chemistry or how to rig an explosive device to a wheelchair. I am, however, a guy who appreciates ballsy confidence.

I’ve expounded the virtues of AMC shows before, namely “The Walking Dead” and “Mad Men.” Over the past couple months I’ve become an obsessive fan of “Breaking Bad,” watching it pretty much every day. If you haven’t seen it, you’re missing out on one of the best shows to every grace cable TV. You’re also missing out on the no-nonsense determination of lead character Walt White.

What Walt teaches us

Walt starts out as a mousy, underachieving high school chemistry teacher who works part-time at a car wash. He takes shit from his DEA agent brother-in-law. He’s treated like garbage by his boss at the car wash. And the worst part is the guy’s a genius. Someone who could have been a multimillionaire scientist is living the life of a nobody. Before Walt’s transformation into a drug kingpin, he’s the epitome of a guy with zero confidence.

Upon hearing that he’s got terminal cancer, Walt drops the woe-is-me attitude and starts taking action. Realizing that he’s got nothing to lose and that he’s the only one in charge of his destiny, Walt starts acting like a man with confidence. He tells his boss off. He has wild sex with his wife again. He buys an RV and starts making loads of money selling meth. Okay, okay. Walt’s confidence boost might not lead to the wisest of decisions, but he’s finally doing things he wants to do and stops taking shit from everybody.

I’m certainly not condoning meth production or liquefying dead bodies in tubs of acid. What I’m saying is that, in a way, we’re all Walt White. We can either choose to be the guy who lets life happen to him or the guy who makes things happen and carries a confident demeanor.

Unlike Walt, however, it shouldn’t take news of a life threatening illness to take charge of your life. And you don’t need to resort to insane measures (e.g. cooking meth in your underwear, killing thugs, poisoning little kids) to make positive things happen in your life.

When Walt transforms into his new, more confident identity he refers to himself as simply Heisenberg. Who are you going to be: A meek Walt White or a confident Heisenberg? Heisenberg might be a power-hungry drug lord, but he’s sure as hell more interesting and gets more done than lowly Walt White ever did.

Whether you love or hate “Breaking Bad,” (and if you hate it, my apologies for writing this article), your level of confidence is totally up to you. How powerful you feel and what you do with that power can have a huge impact on your life.

Be a Heisenberg or be Walt White. Whatever you do, just be sure to wear pants.

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About John Brhel John Brhel is a freelance writer from upstate New York that enjoys picking apart life's idiosyncrasies and listening to Huey Lewis & the News.

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