Bad Advice…

My son and I have been watching a lot of TV together recently. We started around New Year. It wasn’t by accident of course…and it wasn’t just us watching any old (or new) program. I was given the Breaking Bad box set as a Christmas present.
The original idea was that Breaking Bad would be something my wife and I would watch together. That didn’t quite work out according to plan. My wife lasted about one episode. But my son watched that one episode with us and he – like me – was hooked.
We are doing well. We take in one or two episodes each weekend. It is good to have that time together each week in our hectic schedules. We are still engrossed and are still enjoying ourselves. But we are at a point where we can’t tell anyone what series or episode we are watching for fear of someone telling us what happens next. That would be awful.
I am not quite sure what it is that resonates so much about the series – maybe it’s because the lead is a chemist…a synthetic organic chemist. I trained as a synthetic organic chemist. On the other hand he is using his skill to produce illegal drugs. I didn’t do that.
Most of the episodes have been exciting and my son and I always discuss and disagree…or agree…on what is going on. What it all means…and how the story is developing – we enjoy those debates. But there has not been much I have felt the urge to think about outside those moments. Until last week.
Two of the leading characters were having dinner. The chemist – our (anti) hero – and the principal villain. The experienced criminal drug lord had invited the inexperienced criminal organic chemist to dinner. And was explaining that he wanted to help. He wanted to offer advice.
‘What advice do you have for me?’ Was the sceptical – almost dismissive – retort from the chemist? ‘Don’t ever make the same mistake twice.’ Was the reply. Don’t ever make the same mistake twice.
Even though it was a TV series and even though it was advice from a very bad guy. I have repeated the story – and the advice – numerous times already. Even though I recognise that in doing so I am breaking our rule about not telling anyone where we are up to in the box set.
It is just such simple advice. And such a good philosophy to adopt and apply. We all do things. We all make decisions in good faith and with positive intent. But not everything we do works out in the way we want or intend. We all make mistakes. Not at the ‘Breaking Bad’ level I hasten to add. But stuff happens.
And this is why the advice resonated with me – don’t ever make the same mistake twice. That mistakes happen is not the issue. I have never come across anyone who deliberately made a choice knowing it would have negative consequences. The key to success (and to happiness) is to learn from those mistakes. Dispassionately and critically to assess the basis for decision and outcome. To identify what happened that was not predicted or expected…what was missed.
The goal can never be blame. The goal can only ever be learning. And the ultimate goal – the result we aspire to – would be that personally or professionally we never make the same mistake twice.
It would be great if we also could ensure that no-one else ever made the same mistake twice…but the start is always that we ourselves take the (Breaking) Bad advice.


About Steve Street

I have worked in R&D within the Pharmaceutical industry for over 30 years. Up until April 2012 all of my career had been with one company, but that has now changed. I left that company and took up a new role on May 1, 2012 - still very much within the Pharmaceutical industry and again based in the UK. I have been blogging every week now for over 10 years but only on an external site since January 2012. Email updates of the blogs can be requested using the ‘follow’ option within Wordpress. The blogs are only ever my personal view of what I see, think and feel. I am delighted if you agree and find value; happy if you disagree with my views and overjoyed if you feel motivated to comment. Most of all I am simply grateful that you read. Cheers Steve
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2 Responses to Bad Advice…

  1. LFFL says:

    I notice people are either hooked on that show or they can’t quite get into it. Sometimes you need to watch more than one episode though, too.

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