self-help

Breaking Bad’s Walter White and life advice

It’s easy for people so say about that character of Walter White from Breaking Bad things like “Wow, what a psychopath!”. That’s typical lack of empathy and insight. Dramas like this carry much more food for thought if one is willing to ponder.
If you examine the path he took and where it all started, you might realize the true story of that character. Something that might apply to the situation many people are facing.
So let me give you my take on this:

There’s tons of widespread popular life advice about how to succeed, to find fulfillment, to overcome obstacles etc. But a lot of it is self-serving smartass talk, projecting own experiences onto other people.
The uncomfortable reality is that what Walter White did matches that life advice. His character in a way portrays what happens when you just do what needs to be done to empower yourself in a screwed up situation, to turn things around and act, to do something about your unhappiness.
No doubt that he tended to be an ass at times, or horrible to others, or talked bullshit, but who said it’s gonna be a clean path? Don’t get discouraged by adversity – ha-ha. Do what you feel you need to do to be yourself, to find balance. Ha-ha.

Do you now see the problem here?
It’s not that easy. Not when you still consider certain social norms to be valuable. Not when you cannot help but also consider the well-being of others while searching for your own well-being.

I imagine a typical life-advice self-help guru telling Walter his ‘wisdom’, and then a year later he tells Walter in distress: “This is not what I meant!” And Walter responds: “If you didn’t mean it, you shouldn’t have said it. I exactly followed your advice and acted in a goal-oriented way. Things might not be easy or all sunshine and rainbows, but nobody dares to mess with me anymore, and that’s a good start. I have found the confidence now that you talked about. Now I see why YOU were so confident. Now that I am reborn as Heisenberg, I feel like I could share my own success story with the world and tell people what they need to do to find personal fulfillment and self-confidence. … I am a self-made man now. Who I am, I accomplished by myself, through hard work and perseverence! Isn’t that great? So empowering! If only other people could follow the same advice instead of finding excuses!”

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