Let's be real, "inspiring" is not a major qualification for a good television show. I want amazing characters, strong stories, and serious entertainment. If a show can deliver those three things, then I am happy, but if it can also inspire me, then it goes from being good television to great television. NBC's beloved spy drama Chuck was great television, because over the course of five seasons, Chuck Bartowski taught you how to be your best self. As lead characters go, few have grown as much while maintaining their core sense of self as Chuck did.
Chuck was always a good guy, he was always smart, and always kind, but life dealt him a lot of knocks. From his parents leaving him and his sister Ellie behind to getting kicked out of Stanford, Chuck dealt with some major disappointments. Chuck never turned into a brooding jerk with no motivation though — he kept going, he kept having a generous heart, and he opened himself up to new experiences.
Watching Chuck's journey was a gift. His motivation to be the best Chuck he could be never failed to make me want to follow his lead. Here are 11 ways Chuck taught you how to be your best self.
1. By Going Back To Stanford
Revisiting a painful part of your past is never fun, but in some cases it is the only way to move forward. Chuck never wanted to go back to Stanford after he was wrongly expelled, but he did it for the sake of the mission and to get some answers. Watching Chuck confront his past head on can offer a major confidence boost if there's something you are avoiding in your own life.
2. When He Decided To Be A Spy Without The Intersect
Having the Intersect in his head gave Chuck access to all kinds of skills, including how to deactivate a bomb and do Kung-Fu, but when the Intersect was suppressed, Chuck decided to continue his work with the CIA. He found his path in life and stayed on it even when things didn't go the way he expected them to.
3. With His Commitment To His Family
Chuck found his father to give Ellie the best wedding present ever; he made his sister a "push" mix for when she was giving birth; he brought his mother back home; and he treated Awesome and Morgan like brothers, always. The kindness and respect he showed his family were next level amazing person moves.
4. By Not Being Afraid To Ask For Help
No one likes to ask for help, but part of being a well-rounded person is realizing it is totally OK and necessary to rely on other people sometimes. Chuck relied on Sarah and Casey, just as they relied on him, and it was not long before they became an actual team as a result.
5. When He Didn't Forget About Morgan
Having the Intersect uploaded to his brain and becoming a spy were major, life-altering moments for Chuck, and for a long time he couldn't confide in his friends and family about it. Chuck could have easily let himself get too busy to be there for Morgan, but he never forgot how important Morgan's friendship was to him.
6. All The Ways He Stood By Sarah
Relationships are hard when you are a normal person, so I can only imagine how being a spy would complicate your love life. The road to love was never easy for Chuck and Sarah, but by being a sweet, generous man who offered his love to Sarah unconditionally, Chuck put Sarah's needs first. In the process, he taught viewers the beauty of an open heart.
7. He Opened Himself To New Experiences
Chuck could have stayed put in the Buy More, but he went out into the world and took on crazy missions. He traveled. He saved the world. He made the most out of life in every possible way.
8. By Offering Forgiveness So Willingly
A lot of people Chuck loved and trusted — including his father, mother, and best friend Bryce — lied to him. The way they all left his life resulted in a lot of pain for Chuck, but he made it a point to understand why they made the choices they made. Letting go of anger is so important if you want to move forward and Chuck was the best example of how to do it with sincerity.
9. By Totally Embracing His Geek Cred
Chuck loved all things pop culture related. He was a sci-fi junkie, he was reading Game of Thrones before it was cool, and he made his own video game. Rather than be ashamed of his geekiness, he embraced it because it was part of who he was and it was often an asset. If you want to be your best self, then you have to be cool with who you are first.
10. By Being A Good Person By Nature
The key to being the best possible version of yourself is by being genuinely respectful and generous with your heart and time because it is the right thing to do. Chuck was the guy advocating using stun guns over real guns and who every employee in the Buy More believed deserved a promotion. He was genuinely good without expecting anything in return.
11. When He Embraced Change
Change can be awesome or it can be terrifying, and even when it was the latter thing Chuck went forward. Resisting change is only going to make you miserable, but if you go with it, it might just lead you on an adventure of Chuck-sized proportions.
When it comes to being your best self, no one led by example better than Chuck.
Images: Warner Bros. Television; chuckvsthegifs/Tumblr (11)