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What Bryan Cranston Taught Me About Pursuing My Passion

What Bryan Cranston Taught Me About Pursuing My Passion

7 lessons on work and life from Walter White.

I’ve always been a huge fan of Bryan Cranston’s work, and a while ago, I decided to pick up his memoir, A Life in Parts. Whether he was playing a man child on Malcolm in the Middle or the perfect antihero on Breaking Bad, he never failed to amaze. So when I saw a copy of his autobiography at my local bookshop, I was thrilled.

I had always wondered how Tim Whatley from Seinfeld ended up as Walter White. What does the journey of an actor on one of history’s most successful TV shows look like? What better way to learn more about the inner workings of a genius than from the genius himself.

The book did not disappoint. Cranston’s life is nothing short of a TV show itself. As I read through this coming of age story, I noticed little nuggets of wisdom peppered throughout this incredible journey. Here are seven important life lessons I found.


1. Take Risks While You Can

What do you do if you end up in New York, strapped for cash, when the Dodgers are about to go up against the Yankees during a World Series? Well, if you’re Bryan, you and your brother sneak in. As Cranston puts it in the book, they were all balls, no brains.

“The greatest thing about youth is that you’re not yet battle weary, so you’ll try anything.” — Bryan Cranston

Throughout our lives, we’ll have moments when we look back at a decision point and realize that we could have taken that risk, but we chose not to. Usually, we look back in regret, wishing that we had pushed ourselves. Decisions like these only get tougher as life goes on and we’re more established in our current patterns. Try different things and follow your curiosity while you can.

Aim big while you have the courage.


2. Keep the Right People Around You

Cranston knew the importance of valuable friendships. Early in his career, he realized that it’s crucial to surround yourself with people who lift you up. He only kept company with people who were willing to challenge and push him in positive directions.

Cranston recollects a moment when he was preparing for a scene about the artist Amedeo Modigliani. Having never painted, he wanted to know what it was like to paint something. His friend, James Kiberd, decided to help by hosting Cranston at his place so that he could paint all night.

“If people don’t enhance your life, you have to get rid of them.” — Marianne Williamson

We need such friends around us. As social beings, we often choose to socialize even if it’s not with the right crowd. We may go for quantity over quality when it comes to the people we let into our lives.

As humans, we are always striving to improve. Surround yourself with people who care about your growth and are willing to push you in the right direction. We may not be able to choose where we end up, but we can always choose the people we end up with.

This post was originally published on Medium in August 2020.

What Bryan Cranston Taught Me About Pursuing My Passion
I’ve always been a huge fan of Bryan Cranston’s work, and a while ago, I decided to pick up his memoir, A Life in Parts. Whether he was playing a man child on Malcolm in the Middle or the perfect…