3 Things I Learned From Ted Lasso Season 1

If you have not jumped on the quickly growing bandwagon of fans of the Apple TV show Ted Lasso, let me be the one to invite you. As a self-appointed president of the show’s fan club, I assure that there is still room. Chances are that if you have come in contact with those of us that have fallen in love with Coach Ted’s down-to-earn-yet-uber-positive style, you have already heard how inspiring and uplifting the show can be. Now that season 2 is in full swing, I could probably write a book on all the things I learned and loved in season 1, but here are 3 THINGS.

1. “Be a Goldfish.”

Toward the beginning of the season, one of Ted’s players gets down on himself whenever he makes a mistake. Ted calls him over and asks him what the happiest animal in the world is. According to Ted, it’s a goldfish because the have only a 10 second memory. “Be a goldfish,” Ted encourages Sam.

Ted is not implying that we shouldn’t learn from our mistakes or that there won’t sometimes be unavoidable consequences. The purpose of this motto carries the same weight as stories about how Abraham Lincoln or Thomas Edison never gave up in the face of many failures. Dwelling on the negative creates a bleak outlook on both the present and the future. No human has ever lived a faultless life. Own the mistake. Then let it go and move forward.

2. “Be Curious, Not Judgmental”

Ted borrows this intriguing quote from Walt Whitman in what is the most touching, insightful, and inspiring scene of the entire season. When Rebecca is confronted by her jerk of an ex-husband Rupert, Ted steps in on her behalf in a game of darts. While warning that Rupert should not have seen Ted as a bubbling idiot with no business in a competitive dart match, Ted describes how he has been underestimated his entire life.

When Rupert, or others throughout his life, underestimated Ted, it really had more to do with them than with Ted. If they had been curious and gotten to know him, they would have had a very different opinion.

While the scene is very moving in the context of its own story, it also provides a valuable lesson in a much broader context. We live in a society that is becoming more and more divided based on smaller and smaller criteria. If we are being honest with ourselves, we are all quite quick to judge. How much better could our world be if we all made an effort to learn about a person and their circumstances before we wrote them off into a certain category of other? Let’s take this note from Coach Ted seriously, “Be curious, not judgmental.”

3. Believe.

Positivity and optimism are really an overarching theme of the entire show. Ted is so confidently hopeful that he almost seems unreal. Only a person written in the fictional world of television could actually behave and believe like Ted, right? Maybe so. But can we agree that we could all use a little bit more optimism in our lives?

Author and speaker Erwin McManus once explained it this way: Pessimists see the world as it is and are quick to complain. Realists see the world as it is and lose hope. Cynics see the world as it is and make jokes. Optimists are not fools. They still see the world as it is, BUT they also see the world as it could be and they do what they can to make that vision a reality.

It’s easy to be pessimistic. Pessimists are often right and have the “I told you so” cocked and ready in their holsters. Of course it turned out as badly as they said it would when they didn’t do anything to change it. It takes courage to be an optimist. To see a better tomorrow and work toward it is risky. Sometimes those who believe will appear to be foolish. But sometimes they will be right and will drag even the pessimists to a brighter future. In any case, it’s always better to live with that hope of something better. As Coach Ted would say, “It’s the lack of hope that kills you.”

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