One of the best things that has happened to me in the past few years is that I’ve devoted a large amount of time and effort to self-development. In so doing, I have found myself learning from all sorts of experts, spanning many different fields and industries.
My choice to build a better mousetrap (read: better myself) was to learn from perspectives that weren’t my own. By considering a different vantage point to my life, the theory was that it would open my mind to a heightened level of understanding. It would illuminate blind spots and give context to things I previously did not understand. That new context and understanding that would not just promote change, but it would require it.
Each expert that I’ve met, read or interviewed as a part of my podcast “Rules of Success” has their individual take on how to live our best lives. The smart ones add the caveat that it has to be on our own terms if we are ever going to adopt new or improved behaviors that stick.
We have to first acknowledge that we won’t change and then tap into the pain of what it would mean to stay the same.
“What would it feel like 5 years from now if you don’t achieve this goal?”
That pain is the fuel for the motivation and discipline required to change.
One of my favorite experts is Neale Donald Walsh. In his book; Conversations with God (Book 1) he talks about an important step that people go through when they are ready to make a change. They start to find inspiration in things that they previously saw as bereft of merit.
The tell is finding inspiration in the vulgar, the profane or the pornographic.
Once we can separate the cake from each ingredient in the recipe; we can look at our lives differently.
We can look at ourselves differently.
This weekend I had one of those experiences. In a moment of ‘low energy’ (dare I say I was feeling depressed? Eek!) I sat down and started binge watching Breaking Bad.
For the three of you that don’t know anything about Breaking Bad, the premise is a high school chemistry teacher is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. In an effort to leave his family more than just a bill for his funeral, he uses his skills to cook the highest quality crystal meth that Albuquerque, NM had ever seen. He partners with a former student and finds himself in all sorts of trouble as he hides his double life from his family; which includes his brother-in-law who just so happens to be a DEA Agent.
More than once I found myself watching this show and noticing that there was genius in the writing.
There was mastery in the acting.
And best; there was a self development message buried deep in a storyline of dishonesty, illegal drug use, murder, money laundering and betrayal.
Hence, this article was born. I started taking notes of the lessons found I was watching hours upon hours of Breaking Bad from the perspective of an entrepreneur.
I submit each of these to you as a lesson that when learned and applied, can change the course of your life for the better.
1. Be wise with your decisions. You never know how important a single decision can be. Each decision can change the course of your life and the ripple effect could possibly never be known until years down the road. I am not just referring to the bedrock decisions of life; it can be a simple decision like whether to go out or stay home on any given night. Always be mindful of your decisions.
2. Details matter. There is a well-known saying that reads “the devil is in the details.” This is 100% true. No matter the area of life, a few percentage points can be the difference between having the best product on the market or being obscure and irrelevant. It could mean the difference between being obese or being fit and healthy; wealth or bankruptcy. It could literally save your life. Pay attention to the details.
3. Always surround yourself with those who are better than you. If you choose to have a partner in your life, business, or fitness pursuits; partner UP. Hitching your wagon to someone else can be a blessing or a curse, so be aware of who you are partnering with and how their influence or behavior can affect you. Be aware of how they will represent you. Always work with those that will lift you up, not bring you down.
Which leads us to…
4. You become like those you spend time with. It is a 100% certainty that you will take upon yourself the traits of those close to you. Be mindful of the influence of anyone you associate time with on a regular basis. You think you’re immune to the effects of the drama your friends bring? Think again. Your circle of influence can make or break your life, business, or fitness if it has the wrong people in it.
5. When you have a problem and you know the solution, never go halfway in to fix it. It will cause more problems than solve by going halfway. A full-measure and commitment is what the solutions require. Full effort. Resist the temptation to go the easy route as it’s never the easy route in the long run. Go all in.
6. Play to your strengths. You are closer to mastery at things to which you already excel, so why not turn that talent into a skill, and that skill into a mastery? Success is achieved through avenues that already exist, so follow that rabbit hole to understand what really makes you tick. The clues are already there via what you’re already inclined to do.
7. Become irreplaceable. The best way to ensure your place in the market is to be the absolute best at your craft. Make that your niche; that there is no one better than you. If you aren’t the best, become the best. Make being the best your intention and your commitment. Be so good that your completion appears juvenile. Opportunities will fall at your feet when you’re that good.
8. Handle your demons. We are all two parts; dark and light. Every single day, every person on this planet has dark thoughts that get acted upon. Ever person has a hateful, hurtful version of themselves lingering inside that is waiting to break bad on their world. It’s a healthy requirement that we deal with that darkness in a way that allows it out in a safe way. When we deny the fact that we all feel the darkness, we surpass an animal that will eventually find it’s way out of the cage. Having a healthy release is the difference between a life of love and a life of pain.
9. The way you tell your story matters. We all tell a story about ourselves even if we don’t realize it. The things we say and the actions that back them up will do one of two things; they will fortify the validity of our story or it will show a gaping hole in the truth of what we are saying. If it doesn’t add up, it’s visible from a mile away. If your story is inconsistent with your actions; it’s immediately clear to those whom you come in contact. Tell your best story and back it up.
I know I said 9, but here’s an extra one for good measure.
10. Life is not random. We are bombarded with information and voices that would like to convince us otherwise, but we’re all connected. The universe does it’s best to hide this connected-ness from us, but it’s only a ruse. Everything is connected. I will write that again. Everything. Is. Connected.
There it is. Consider this list and compare it against your preconceived thoughts about your life.
Where can I increase my awareness and eliminate my blindspots?
Let me know what you find!*
Special thanks to Walter White, Jesse Pinkman.. and of course, Sal Goodman for the inspiration for this article.
Bryce Prescott (IamMrPrescott.com)
*Please reach out if there are other lessons that you’ve learned from Breaking Bad that could be added to this list. I host a weekly podcast called Rules of Success and we discuss real-life applications of things we see in the media every day. Listen in at www.RulesofSuccess.com.