When I was in high school I had to make a choice: university degree. When I was 8 years old, I wanted to study Marine Biology. I’d seen some Jaques Cousteau T.V. program and all I wanted was to swim with the dolphins. Later, when I was 12, I wanted to be a lawyer. Then, by 15 I wanted to be a graphic designer. By 18, I wanted to study Chemistry. I turned the sciences down and pursued the graphic design thing. I regret it.
I’ve been on a wild binge of Breaking Bad. Yeah.. yeah… I know a “little” late, but “Fall never comes late” said some Chinese wise man (or something like that).
I learned nothing about chemistry, but here I want to share my top 10 lessons I’ve learned from Walter White:
Lesson #1. Clean after your mess. Be responsible. What’s done it’s done and you can’t take it back. You shit it, you clean it. No matter what you’re doing, cooking breakfast, vomiting on the sink, going on a killing spree or throwing pizza to the roof of your house… always, always clean your mess.
Lesson #2. Keep where you eat clean. OK. this is not something Walter White said explicitly… however it makes sense that no matter what happens, make sure it never hits you at home. Keep your shit away… really far away. Find your RV, your desert, your Jesse, your Mike, your Skyler, your Saul… whatever that serves as your junkyard. Word of advice: try not to shit on people, but if you have to do it to keep yourself clean, you do what you gotta do.
Lesson #3. Equal share. No matter what the deal is, what the partners are, what the job is… always go equal share over responsibilities, winnings or losses, even liabilities. Never settle for less that your partners.
Lesson #4. Underdogs bite harder. Chemistry teacher, cancer diagnosed… blah, blah, blah… The underdog cover is always the best one. Bark too much, you don’t bite. It’s better not to have any front, than to have every front to lose, like the in-law Hank.
Lesson #5. Think in sequences. Steps matter. When you lack clarity or you don’t know what’s next, sit down and always, always enunciate what your steps are going to be in order to achieve what you want. Step after step, walk ahead… way ahead ’til you’re so far away that they’ll never see you coming.
Lesson #6. Logistics matters. This goes hand in hand with Lesson #5 and it’s part of the planning process. What are the costs and the required resources needed to accomplish your goals? You take care of the little details nobody cares to see and you’ll never have to worry about things falling apart.
Lesson #7. Smart up. Christ! Take advantage of your Homo Sapiens condition. Use your brains. If science, technology or any other modern world artifact can help you out, use it. Do it. Humanity has advanced this far for us to be smart enough and not over-complicate things.
Lesson #8. Leave work at work. Besides the fact that Walter couldn’t build a lab at home, it’s clear that work is work and it should be kept far away from home. Work your hours, make them profitable and never, ever bring work at home.
Lesson #9. Never take “No” for an answer. When things are muddled, tangled or whatever and the only thing to do is to give up, the only reasonable, logical thing to do is to “Never give control up”. Things only stop until you say so… everything is negotiable, well, everything except love.
Lesson #10. It’s OK to be the bad guy. Hey, I’m not saying it’s OK to go wild on a passive-agressive killing spree or the way Walt did. Beyond the drug lords and the world Vincent Gillian depicted, Breaking Bad is about breaking social conventions, it’s about breaking from being “politically correct”. it’s about not taking shit from people, like ever.
** EDIT **
BONUS LESSON #1. Think Gigantic. Where Jesse saw teenths, Mr. White saw pounds. Where Heisenberg saw thousands, Fring saw millions. Where Jesse saw a business, Walt saw an empire. Where Skyler saw danger, Walter White was the danger. Think, and when you do, think big, think gigantic. Do more with the less effort you can. Never settle for less. Go for the unmeasurable.
BONUS LESSON #2 Never compromise Quality. No matter what you do, from single day daily tasks, to mass-production of everyday products, to cooking illicit drugs… Quality is what defines what you’re gonna be worth. Lasseter from Pixar knows this too.
BONUS LESSON #3 Demand information. Somehow Walter always knew what was happening. He went too far because he had information at hand. He asked his in-law, he asked Jesse, he demanded to talk to Gustave Fring… he always demanded information. Make sure you have sources to gather reliable information and craft the best strategies.
There, in a nutshell. What I learned. Of course there are more things to write down, but I think this is something I can really pull from the show and apply in daily life. 99.1% purity?