“Be Like a Goldfish.” That was the last four words of Ted Lasso. It is also the first of three life lessons from the iconic show.
OK – you might think I’m partial to Goldfish because of my books. But to steal a line from Will Ferrell in the movie Elf, “It’s just nice to meet another human who shares my affinity for goldfish culture.”
If you haven’t seen the show, Coach Ted Lasso poses a question to Sam Obisanya, “What’s the happiest animal on Earth?”
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. He shrugs.
Lasso shares, “It’s a goldfish. You know why?”
Sam is puzzled and shakes his head.
Coach continues, “Got a 10-second memory… Be a goldfish, Sam.”
The life lesson from Coach Lasso is don’t dwell on the bad. Forget it and concentrate on the next opportunity.
The second lesson is about effort. The scene begins with the coaching staff watching the players on the pitch.
Coach Beard to Ted, “They can’t maintain their lines. [Ted sighs] These guys are just not in sync.”
Ted calls the team over, “No. No, no. Guys, come on. That ain’t gonna cut it. Y’all gotta be together on this, all right?”
The camera pulls back and reveals that Ted is trying to teach the team a 90s dance routine.
“It’s like this.[Ted demonstrates his best N’Sync form] You may hate me, but it ain’t no lie. Yeah? Then the hands. ‘Bye, bye, bye.’ All right? And watch my jumps. ‘Ain’t no lie.’ See how I’m jumping? Like I’m a marionette. That’s why this song is on the album, ‘No Strings Attached,’ all right?”
[The team murmurs in agreement]
Ted emphasizes, “Yes. Okay, good. Now, look, fellas, performing this at Doc’s going-away party ain’t gonna mean Bo Jackson diddly squat unless she can tell how hard we worked on it. You know what I mean? It ain’t the execution. That ain’t the gift. It’s the effort. Yeah? Okay? You see what I mean?”
Life Lesson: Effort matters
The third lesson comes from my favorite scene in the first season. Ted bets on a game of darts against the villainous Rupert Manion.
Ted is losing badly and needs a near-impossible score of 170 to win.
As he’s about to throw, Ted shares how guys have underestimated him his entire life. He shares that it used to bother him until he saw the Walt Whitman quote, “Be curious, not judgmental.”
He continues his story as he hits a triple 20, “All them fellas that used to belittle me, not a single one of them were curious.”
He shares how their judgments had nothing to do with him because if they were curious, they would’ve asked questions…
“Questions like, have you played a lot of darts Ted?”
Throwing his second dart, he hits another triple 20. Now, he just needs 50 to win.
Ted confirms he played a lot of darts with his late father.
He utters, “Barbeque sauce” and hits the winning bullseye. The bar erupts.
Life Lesson – Curiosity is key.