Over the course of Breaking Bad‘s run, Jesse Pinkman evolved from an ignorant petty criminal into one of the best meth manufacturers in the business and a veritable drug kingpin, and then he wound up losing it all in the end.
Jesse is undoubtedly a flawed individual who seemed to make the wrong choice far more often than he made the right one. But considering all that he went through in his character arc, there are quite a few good life lessons to be learned from Jesse’s failures and successes. What are the best things that fans can learn from Jesse Pinkman?
If You Want To Do Science, Learn Science
While in most cases making meth wouldn’t be considered a legitimate scientific career, if there is one thing that Jesse’s failures as a drug kingpin can teach anyone, it’s that scientific knowledge is a clear necessity for anyone who wants to do anything scientific.
Eventually, with the help of Walt, Jesse not only got the hang of things, but began taking things more seriously. However, a lot of problems could have been avoided if Jesse knew anything about the field he was working in.
Don’t Be Afraid To Think Outside The Box
Jesse Pinkman wasn’t typically the brains of the blue meth-making operation that he and Walt started, but that doesn’t mean that he never was.
It was rare, but Jesse occasionally came up with some incredibly off-the-wall but also incredibly creative and effective ideas. Even if he didn’t have a wide knowledge base, he could be a great problem solver, and he should have leaned into that talent more.
Even If You’ve Done Wrong, You Can Still Do Right
By the end of Breaking Bad, Jesse Pinkman was arguably one of the most sympathetic characters left, despite the fact that he did more immoral things than nearly anyone.
But what made Jesse so irresistibly likable is that, despite the fact that he’d done many awful things, he actually did try to be a halfway decent person when it came down to it. Jesse’s character arc demonstrates that even people who have done the worst can also do good things too.
Don’t Make Enemies Who Are Smarter Than You
Clearly Jesse had no idea what he was getting into when he teamed up with Walt, but one of his most obvious mistakes that anyone can learn from is that he made enemies out of people who were much cleverer and more experienced than he was.
Obviously, it’s better to avoid making enemies if at all possible, but if anyone is going to go up against someone else, it’d better be someone who isn’t smarter than they are.
Don’t Make Enemies Who Are More Monstrous Than You
Considering that Jesse managed to outlive most of the smartest people in Breaking Bad, it seems safe to say that he wasn’t just lucky, but that his intellectual abilities were massively underestimated throughout the course of the series.
But another major downfall of Jesse’s career in crime is that he didn’t just cross very clever people, he crossed people who had no limits or morals, which would always put the kindhearted Jesse at a disadvantage.
Stick To Your Moral Standards
Jesse was a consistently sympathetic character because despite the fact that he did a lot of terrible things, he never really wanted to do anything terrible.
Unfortunately for him, he chose a life path that forced him to do a lot of things that went against his better moral judgments, and a huge problem for him was his absolute inability to cope with any of the damage that he did.
Don’t Force Yourself To Do Things You Don’t Want To Do
Just like Walt, Jesse really had no idea what he was getting into when he started becoming a major player in the drug world, and just like Walt, all Jesse ever really wanted to do was sell meth and make money.
He clearly couldn’t compartmentalize things in the way that Walt did though, and instead of forcing himself to do so many things he didn’t want to, he should have just bowed out, it honestly would have been less of a hassle and resulted in far fewer traumatic experiences for Jesse.
Don’t Drag People Into Your Problems
Everyone craves friendships and love, but once Jesse had any idea how dangerous the life he was now living was, he should have isolated himself as much as possible.
And to be fair, the average person is never going to be in the constant life-and-death situations that Jesse typically found himself in, but it’s still good to keep in mind that the more people that get dragged into problems, the bigger those problems become.
Don’t Do Drugs
Jesse Pinkman was a pretty regular dude who spent the majority of his character’s tenure on Breaking Bad just trying and failing to cope with all the nightmarish situations that came his way. And, in an unsurprising turn of events for a drug manufacturer, he often used drugs as his means of coping.
Jesse’s drug use inevitably made every situation worse, and the way his character devolved was an object lesson in the uselessness of trying to chemically dull the pain.
Don’t Sell Drugs
This probably goes without saying, but Walt and Jesse’s journey from RV drug cooks to kingpins in the meth world did not go as planned, and it essentially destroyed both of their lives despite the fact that they had barely anything to show for it in the end.
Nearly every terrible thing that happened to Jesse happened as a result of his decision to make meth.