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Lilly

Your Inner Heisenberg

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In AMC's TV series "Breaking Bad" we see Walter White go from door mat Chemistry teacher to evil Drug Lord Heisenberg. But...could Walter have done things differently? Could Walter have used his rage in a far more positve manner leading to a much better outcome?

Take a look at this article: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505125_162-57597031/why-every-leader-needs-to-watch-breaking-bad/

Fascinating premise, one that I personally embraced awhile back. Yep, I had my own personal 'Heisenberg moment' and went on to overcome adversity (and I didn't even have to kill anyone!).

From the article:

This is an introduction to what I believe is the most important topic in leadership right now: using, without being possessed by, the dark side of your nature. Those who get it right do great things. Those who get it wrong derail or become inept.

That Walter White would be on the cover of Fast Company and Fortune, not on the FBI's Most Wanted List, or as a one-line obituary about a local teacher having lost his battle with cancer.

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From the article; "Get mad. Get really mad. Then place that anger deep inside yourself where it will smolder for years without going out. That is the fire that leads to great things getting done. That's your noble passion."

That's a recipe for burnout, ask any long time moral activist.

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You'll only burn out if you allow it to go from simply smoldering to an inferno.

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From the article; "Get mad. Get really mad. Then place that anger deep inside yourself where it will smolder for years without going out. That is the fire that leads to great things getting done. That's your noble passion."

That's a recipe for burnout, ask any long time moral activist.

If someone wants to get promoted the key is working hard, performing and playing positive politics. By positive politics I mean dont whine, gossip or be negative about others (your opposition will use it to pick you off) and build a good relationship with the management (gain their trust and respect). Many managers dont know that much about their staff or the good things they've been doing so make sure you blow your own trumpet to them. If anybody whines, gossips or is negative about you then make sure you pull them over it preferably by complaining to a manager. That way you damage their reputation picking them off and stopping them getting the promotion instead of it happening to you.

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I see the author's point and it is interesting. However, I'm not sure how neatly the two paths differentiate for everyone. And I also wonder are we seeing more or fewer Heisenbergs (Power Up Narcissists) today?

I still wonder whether:

1. Walter started out with a Noble Passion but along the way became Powered Up.

Or

2. He was a Powered Up Narcissist all along and just...waiting... You don't screw a N like his friends did.

So I wonder how Black and White the premise of the article is in the real world. Definitely some stay the course, but there are an awful lot of leaders out there and the warnings "goes to one's head" or "a tiger can't change its stripes" both come to mind, as they do with the Walter White character, for me.

Edited by QuiteContrary

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Unleash your inner Heisenberg?

I'm uncertain what you mean by that :innocent:

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Not so sure about "unleashing" it...more like channeling it in a positive manner.

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I certainly have a temper.

Most people don't see it, though. I'm generally a calm person..

Breaking Bad is really a story about a dynamic character, and its portrayal of his transformation is gorgeous.

It's a good example - fictitious or not - about how you should learn to self-control over emotions. :P

Edited by Ginko

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Two things Walter could have done:

1. Taught at a university. He would have started at least three times what he was making as a high school teacher and scrubbing cars.

2. Gotten a life insurance policy. He was a teacher at a public school so he could have gotten a cheap one through his union. His family would have legally gotten more money than what Walter's initial meth production plan would have made.

Walter White was both a selfish genius and a selfish idiot. What kind of man gets married, buys a house, and has a disabled kid yet doesn't have life insurance? A dick who doesn't care what happens to his family if he should die. I'm not even married and I have a free $50,000 policy through my employer.

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Two things Walter could have done:

1. Taught at a university. He would have started at least three times what he was making as a high school teacher and scrubbing cars.

2. Gotten a life insurance policy. He was a teacher at a public school so he could have gotten a cheap one through his union. His family would have legally gotten more money than what Walter's initial meth production plan would have made.

Walter White was both a selfish genius and a selfish idiot. What kind of man gets married, buys a house, and has a disabled kid yet doesn't have life insurance? A dick who doesn't care what happens to his family if he should die. I'm not even married and I have a free $50,000 policy through my employer.

He isnt right for teaching people at university.

Ninety-nine percent of successful entrepreneurs share common characteristics - High self-confidence, intelligence, high level of education, parents are self-employed, they are good at assessing risk, are driven to achieve and have a high internal locus of control. The last one means they dont believe success is down to luck they believe their future is totally within their power to control.

Entrepreneurs are born not made. Possessing a business degree is also valuable to them as it drastically increases their chances of success. The reason being is that without illumination into management they are simply unaware of a large number of things they will need to know.

Channeling your darkside isnt going to lead to you success. It could lead to you corrupting yourself but thats about it.

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I think the point is to take the energy from our darkside (we all have one) and use it for a more noble purpose.

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i think the point is money creates monsters out of good people

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I think the point is to take the energy from our darkside (we all have one) and use it for a more noble purpose.

This sounds to me like: transform your inner demons into something constructive instead of (self-)destruction.

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i think the point is money creates monsters out of good people

Not so sure it was the money as much as the power that came from the money. Remember, before Walt "broke bad" he was pretty low on the power scale. Once he realized it was 'game over' and he was dying of incurable cancer he went down the road to the dark side. The idea that this psychologist is posing is that Walt could have utilized his anger/rage in a more constructive manner and generated a much better outcome. Although I must admit, it wouldn't have made for as good a TV series!

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Not so sure it was the money as much as the power that came from the money. Remember, before Walt "broke bad" he was pretty low on the power scale. Once he realized it was 'game over' and he was dying of incurable cancer he went down the road to the dark side. The idea that this psychologist is posing is that Walt could have utilized his anger/rage in a more constructive manner and generated a much better outcome. Although I must admit, it wouldn't have made for as good a TV series!

true almost done season 5 pt 2 sad its over

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He isnt right for teaching people at university.

Yeah, he was better off scrubbing cars at a car wash while he students laughed at him.

Ninety-nine percent of successful entrepreneurs share common characteristics - High self-confidence, intelligence, high level of education, parents are self-employed, they are good at assessing risk, are driven to achieve and have a high internal locus of control. The last one means they dont believe success is down to luck they believe their future is totally within their power to control.

Too bad that 99% of the people who believe their future is totally within their power to control end up in bankruptcy.

My dad had two successful and two moderately successful businesses and died with over a million dollars in the bank. He was not intelligent -- he had trouble understanding the newspaper. He flunked out of college. His dad was an accountant. He had a gambling addiction so I wouldn't say he was good at assessing risk. He was Jewish if that counts for anything.

He wasn't driven to succeed. He started a paging and answering service in 1957. It barely paid the bills because most professionals didn't want to be bothered carrying a pager around. He couldn't think of anything else and liked owning a business so he kept at it. When pagers suddenly became the professional status symbol in the mid-70's, rentals went through the roof. If I remember right they went from $200,000 a year to $1.8 million a year. He became a millionaire by 1980. It took over twenty years!

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Not so sure it was the money as much as the power that came from the money. Remember, before Walt "broke bad" he was pretty low on the power scale. Once he realized it was 'game over' and he was dying of incurable cancer he went down the road to the dark side.

My opinion was that Walt was always an arrogant jackass. The only change in him was that years of the world not accepting him as the next Einstein built up into rage. He finally acted on it when he felt (incorrectly) that he had nothing to lose.

He was an arrogant idiot for leaving Gray Matter for $5,000 -- he was sure the company would collapse without his brilliance holding the roof up. During the unclear period of his past we know he held some research positions but either quit or was fired. I'm guessing he was impossible to work with. He could have easily taught at a university but of course any of his brilliant ideas would have become property of the university. A science teacher was the only job he could keep and his blind arrogance even got him thrown out of that job.

His pleasantness was pure facade. He reminded me of characters Jack Lemmon played like the crooked salesman in Glengarry Glen Ross. What a nice man.

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It's hard to tell if Walter was more psychopathic or narcissistic. Unlike most psychopaths he did experience remorse, but not to the extent that it caused him to change what he was doing. Also, unlike a true narcissist he did care for Skylar and his children, albeit in a warped manner.

Now, I'm not sure if the failures in Walt's life were based on arrogance as much as his fear and his 'door mat' personality type. If he was always a real arrogant 'lime light' seeking individual that would have carried over into his behaviour as high school science teacher, but we initially see Walter as far more of a nerdy/wimp type. This is why his transformation into Heisenberg is so shocking. Whatever diagnosis one chooses it's pretty clear that Walter becomes seduced by the thrill/power of the drug trade. And in the final analysis Walter's descent into evil is highly destructive...but oh so highly entertaining!

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Yeah, he was better off scrubbing cars at a car wash while he students laughed at him.

Too bad that 99% of the people who believe their future is totally within their power to control end up in bankruptcy.

My dad had two successful and two moderately successful businesses and died with over a million dollars in the bank. He was not intelligent -- he had trouble understanding the newspaper. He flunked out of college. His dad was an accountant. He had a gambling addiction so I wouldn't say he was good at assessing risk. He was Jewish if that counts for anything.

He wasn't driven to succeed. He started a paging and answering service in 1957. It barely paid the bills because most professionals didn't want to be bothered carrying a pager around. He couldn't think of anything else and liked owning a business so he kept at it. When pagers suddenly became the professional status symbol in the mid-70's, rentals went through the roof. If I remember right they went from $200,000 a year to $1.8 million a year. He became a millionaire by 1980. It took over twenty years!

If he was examined scientifically he would have many of the traights that an entreprenuer has or been lucky. Entrepreneurship theory is a science in itself.

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If he was examined scientifically he would have many of the traights that an entreprenuer has or been lucky. Entrepreneurship theory is a science in itself.

He was lucky.

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It's hard to tell if Walter was more psychopathic or narcissistic. Unlike most psychopaths he did experience remorse, but not to the extent that it caused him to change what he was doing. Also, unlike a true narcissist he did care for Skylar and his children, albeit in a warped manner.

I'm not really into categorizing people or characters since the most interesting ones are impossible to categorize.

Now, I'm not sure if the failures in Walt's life were based on arrogance as much as his fear and his 'door mat' personality type.

The story seemed to be saying that they were based on arrogance. He missed out on a fortune with Gray Matter because he felt that he alone was responsible for whatever success they were having. He was having some success as a researcher at Los Alamos when he met Skyler and it still sounded like he was full of himself (which is how he swept Skyler off her feet). I think his passive personality appeared sometime after that and that's when his career tumbled along with it. Maybe he gave up on being the next Einstein and decided that marrying a pretty blonde with a rockin' bod was enough success for him.

I was hoping that they would have more flashbacks to Walter's past. In the first season I thought he was the most interesting character I had ever seen on television. He became less and less interesting to me as the plot progressed.

If he was always a real arrogant 'lime light' seeking individual that would have carried over into his behaviour as high school science teacher, but we initially see Walter as far more of a nerdy/wimp type.

Like I said, I suspect that around the time he married Skylar he somehow became able to suppress his arrogance. Perhaps he figured out that attitude was not the way to keep a wife and family and he would fail again. It sounded like and his ambition went away around this time as well. There was one flashback showing Walter and his new wife taking a look at the house they would eventually buy and spend the rest of their happy lives together (making the final scenes of the wrecked house two seasons later more symbolic). Walter never looked more happy and optimistic! A beautiful wife and a nice ranch house? What more could he want?

This is why his transformation into Heisenberg is so shocking. Whatever diagnosis one chooses it's pretty clear that Walter becomes seduced by the thrill/power of the drug trade. And in the final analysis Walter's descent into evil is highly destructive...but oh so highly entertaining!

It wasn't that shocking to me because my successful wealthy father turned into a mini-Heisenberg almost every night after a couple of drinks. I think most "Heisenbergs" just get drunk, yell at their families, then go to work the next day like nothing is wrong.

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