What’s the happiest animal on Earth? Coach Ted Lasso poses this question to Sam Obisanya.

Haven’t seen the show? For background, Sam is a young Nigerian right-back for AFC Richmond. He’s struggling to find his footing and he’s hard on himself after making mistakes on the soccer field.

Lasso shares, “It’s a goldfish. You know why?”

Sam is puzzled and shakes his head side-to-side.

Coach continues, “Got a ten-second memory… Be a goldfish, Sam.”

The takeaway from Coach Lasso is don’t dwell on a bad play. Forget it and concentrate on the next play.

Want a technique to implement this thinking?

Daniel Pink shared a technique from reading Olympic softball player Jennie Finch’s book, “Throw Like a Girl” in his Pinkcast.

Finch shared how a sports psychologist placed a tiny toilet in the dugout.
Whenever a player would strike out or make a fielding error, she’d come back to the dugout and flush the tiny toilet. That action symbolized the flushing away of the mistake. Dan suggests buying a toilet on Etsy and placing it on your desk. The next time you make a mistake, you click the handle and just flush it away.

Is a short memory like a goldfish a key to being happy?

I love this comment on YouTube from Fussas, “Genuinely amazing advice… the moment I started to put effort into this approach was when I became consistently happy rather than consistently depressed. There’s still moments of sadness of course, but learning to just move past those without spending emotional and physical energy on things you cannot change.”

Speaking of change, does a goldfish also hold the key to being different?

The average goldfish is just over three inches in length. That’s the length of your thumb. The largest goldfish in the world are over 15 inches.

5 times larger! How is that even possible? It turns out the growth of a goldfish (and your business) is based on 5 factors:

1. Size of the bowl or pond – bigger the bowl or pond, the greater the growth. In business, the bowl or pond is the “Market” you serve.

2. Number of other goldfish – more goldfish, the harder the growth. In business, those other goldfish are your “Competition.”

3. Quality of water – the clearer the water and abundance of nutrients, the greater the growth. In business, the water is the “Economy.”

4. First 120 days of life – the better they do as “fry,” the more growth later in life. In business, this is how you do as a “Start-up.”

5. Genetic makeup – the stronger your genes and the more you are separated from other goldfish, the larger the growth. In business, genetic makeup is “Differentiation.”

Assuming you’ve already been in business for four months, do you have any control over the market, your competition, or the economy?

NO, NO, and NO.

Takeaway: Be like a goldfish. The only thing you have control over is your business’s genetic make-up or how you differentiate the experience you build around your product or service.  

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Stan Phelps walks the walk. He stands out in the sea of sameness by modeling his own Differentiated Experience (DX) message: Differentiation isn’t just about what you say, it’s about what you do and, more importantly, how and why you do it. Stan leverages his unique collection of 5,000+ case studies on customer, employee, and brand experience to engage audiences with informative learning-based experiences. He believes purposeful DX wins the hearts of employees and customers, and differentiation ultimately boosts loyalty, retention, referrals, and results.

Find Stan’s in-person and virtual keynotes, workshops, and Goldfish tank programs at StanPhelps.com.