Walter White, the polarizing chemistry genius turned school teacher turned meth cook, has captured much of my attention for the last 3 months while his story unfolded in the epic TV show Breaking Bad. I arrived very late to the Breaking Bad party but I am very glad to I got the chance to meet Walter White and dive deeper into his character.
When describing Walter is it usually difficult to not use the words monster, ruthless, power hungry, selfish, or something to that effect. While there is no doubt his actions were highly deplorable as he descended deeper into the world of methamphetamine production I believe there is a difference between his character traits and how they manifested into actions given his ever increasingly extreme environment. What I mean is Walter White was an unstoppable force in his chosen field and would be equally as unstoppable in any other setting… and I would love to work with him!
Think about it, that type of fearless, critical thinking, ambitious person with virtually no ceiling is hard to come by! Lets look at the qualities I admire most about Walter White:
Fearless – The stage was never too bright or too grand for Walter. He was never intimidated by the people he worked with and worked for. He was never afraid to take the next leap forward and remained uncompromising when most others would shrink.
Critical thinking – He always had an answer and a plan. Even at his most desperate times he found a way to pull through. I admire his ability to adapt to changing conditions where the rules hardly ever stay the same. In a crisis situation where everything is changing rapidly and decisions need to be made on half baked, murky, unclear, and inconclusive data who else would you rather on your team?
Ambitious – His fire to become greater never quit. He set goals, achieved them, then set new higher goals.
So while his road to greatness was rocky and he faced some very extraordinary challenges along the way these are the qualities I saw shine through when faced with adversity. These same qualities that steepened his decent into the dark and dangerous drug world would have been his elevator if used in the professional world. I’d work with you any day Walter White… just please don’t poison me.