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Be a Goldfish

The television more-than-a-comedy “Ted Lasso” is full of food for thought. Soccer coach Lasso has a take on teamwork, love, and how to live a good life that illuminates the best way to be a human. But one of his many bits of wisdom comes from the humble goldfish.

After a tough defeat, Ted says, “You know what the happiest animal in the world is? It’s a goldfish. It’s got a 10 second memory. Be a goldfish.” He goes on to encourage the team to forget the losses and focus on what’s next. Put the missed shots and opportunities, the losses and disappointments behind you and work on doing better. Shorthand for this, as the show goes forward (as we all are reminded to do) is, “Be a goldfish.”

I love this show. It’s one that is well worth watching. When I finally got to see all of it, I was spoiled for anything else. I just wanted to watch it all over again, which I quickly began to do. It is filled with nuggets of wisdom.

Be the goldfish. Leave it all in the past. Okay, don’t leave the beautiful things, the happinesses and glories, the lovely littles and bigs behind you. Keep those tucked away someplace safe. But don’t hang onto the ugly bits that aren’t doing you any good. Be a goldfish and swim over to your tiny castle, waving your pretty little tail as you go.

Rufus, paying rapt attention, as we all should.

I always feel that it’s important to look and listen for these bits of wisdom wherever I can, in whatever conversation, book, movie, overheard comment, child’s remark, dog’s behavior, act of nature, and of course my own reaction to something or other. It’s important to always be listening, paying attention, noticing. Otherwise, what might I be missing? What important message or idea might escape my notice? What bearer of wisdom might be left shaking its head and rolling its eyes, wondering how to get my attention next time?

But with “Ted Lasso,” there’s a banquet of wonderful morsels just laid out for you, so easy to pick up and so palatable. It might sound like I work for Apple+ TV but this show is worth watching. Honestly, I haven’t found much else of worth there, but when I find something like this gem, I want to tell about it.

Here are a few more Ted Lasso-isms.

“I promise you there is something worse out there than being sad, and that’s being alone and being sad. Ain’t no one in this room alone.”

“There’s two buttons I never like to hit: that’s panic and snooze.”

“I think things come into our lives to help us get from one place to a better one.”

If you’re looking for my cards or art, you’ll find all of that on my website. If you enjoy these letters, feel free to forward this one to anyone you think might like it. And if someone forwarded this one to you, you can sign up here to receive the letters right in your Inbox. Finally, you’ll find past letters and poems here.

Thanks for listening,

P.S. MerryThoughts is the name of my first book, out of print at the moment. The word is a British one, referring both to a wishbone and to the ritual of breaking the wishbone with the intention of either having a wish granted or being the one who marries first, thus the “merry thoughts.”

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