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MDNA Celebrity Profile: Walter White (Breaking Bad) – KWR

Fictional characters also can have MDNA Profiles. Typically every great character is based upon somebody in real life, except the persona and core traits are amplified. This makes learning the principles of their MDNA Profile much easier and a valuable exercise. Not to mention it can be fun and entertaining.

Walter White


KWR (Knowledgeable Wisdom & Responsibility)

In the breakout television series Breaking Bad, portrayed by actor Bryan Cranston, Walter “Walt” Hartwell White Sr., also known as “Heisenberg”, was a chemist and a former chemistry teacher, who, after being diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer, started manufacturing crystal methamphetamine to both pay for his treatments and provide for his family in the event of his passing.

As huge fans of the show, this was an absolute blast of a profile to do. Walter White is the ultimate expression of the KWR MDNA. He embodies all the giftedness of this profile on one hand, while on the other, exemplified all the negative traits the KWR should learn to avoid.

First, let’s look at the positive. The KWR is known for the core competence of perfecting precision. This is what led to Walter White’s ability to create the most chemically pure and stable crystal meth that made him the most sought after “cook” to an international scale. (By no means are we saying perfecting the recipe for methamphetamine is ethically justified, but this is the positive potential the KWR is capable of.) As a KWR, he was also passionate about teaching and passing on his knowledge and wisdom. Also just like the KWR, he was full of facts and started with an unimposing demeanor and a quirky wit.

It’s the principle of responsibility where this character truly begins “breaking bad.” One of the greatest struggles for the KWR is the trap of selective responsibility. This is when the KWR is so accomplished in one area, such as intellectual achievement at work, that the KWR can be tempted to feel exempt from being holistically responsible in all other areas, such as family. But when it comes to Walter White, this is only the beginning.

Where a healthy KWR is highly disciplined, analytical and will use wisdom as a tool to help others, the unhealthy KWR can be highly selfish and use information as a tool for power and manipulation. Yes, while White was highly analytical and disciplined with his craft; he was a master manipulator, using lies and trickery to accomplish his goals. He also took a highly doctrinal, even religious approach, to cooking meth. He was legalistic to the core when it came to his lab. His intellectual vanity and ego got the best of him.

Ultimately, Walter White became a sociopath. This too can become an unfortunate reality extreme for the dysfunctional KWR.

It is interesting to note that as the show progressed, Walter White began to exhibit the negative aspects of the DLF (Dominion Leadership & Freedom) MDNA Profile. This slowly became his secondary profile as he learned DLF behaviours through his social circles and experiences in the underworld of drug trafficking. Nothing made this more evident when Walter White proclaimed, “I’m in the empire business,” during an intense moment with his partner Jesse.

Walter White, without a doubt, is one of the most fascinating characters to hit television. But he should be seen as a cautionary tale for every KWR. The KWR, in our real-world observation, has the capacity to win big or lose big because of their intellectual prowess. In fact, it is not uncommon for the KWR to admit fantasizing about committing the perfect crime. Combined with selective responsibility, this de-synchronization of purpose, passions and potential can become truly dangerous.

Thankfully, Breaking Bad is just a very popular television show. Men like “Heisenberg” don’t really exist right? (Let’s not answer that.)


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