A whole bunch of people were telling me that I should watch the TV program “Ted Lasso”. I sort of knew that it had something to do with “positive thinking” and what not…..after all, if you are in the business of positive thinking (and by definition a New Thought/Science of Mind minister such as myself is in that “business”), folks are going to pass on to you all the cultural activities in that arena.
So, it took until season 2 was in progress before Mary and I sat down to watch the show. We were immediately hooked. We binge watched 5 half hour episodes one night and the remaining 5 episodes of season one the following evening. And, as of this writing, we are caught up on season 2 being aired one per week on Apple TV+. Obviously, we are loving the show.
OK, if you haven’t seen it yet, here is the gist. American football coach Ted Lasso (played by actor-comedian Jason Sudeikis, known for an extensive stint as a cast member on Saturday Night Live) is hired to coach an English football (i.e., soccer) Premier League team even though he has no experience coaching the sport. The new owner is a divorcee, Rebecca, who obtained the team in her divorce settlement and she wants (unbeknownst to Ted) to destroy the team to get back at her ex-husband. We discover early on that Ted has taken on the challenge and moved to England to give his unhappy wife back in the states some marital “space”. We know going in that the clash of the cultures and issues arising from Ted’s inexperience with soccer is inevitable. What is the pleasant surprise of the show is how Ted’s positive nature and outlook on life helps him navigate those things.
But it’s more than simply positive thinking. Ted Lasso has opened among its followers a cottage industry sharing his quotes and leadership lessons. Go do a quick Google search on “Ted Lasso Quotes” and “Ted Lasso Leadership Lessons” and you will see that. Here’s a couple of links to show what I mean:
However, I want to take a different tact here. I believe that there are many life and metaphysical messages in the show that are worth pointing out. In fact, one of the interesting things I discovered as a long time business and government leader is that really effective leadership techniques really are steeped in a true spiritual outlook on life. Now, I’m not saying that the show writers and producers consciously put these “spiritual messages” in the show, but in my opinion, they are there nonetheless. So let’s get to it!
7 Spiritual Lessons
Warning: If you haven’t seen the show, there are some minor season one spoilers about to come your way.
Lesson One: Maintain a Positive Outlook
Ted Lasso: Yes, of course, this is the first one. You can’t miss the main message from the show about being positive about life. And the character Ted is the eternal optimist of the show. When things go bad, he sees the good in it. He posts signs in the locker room and at home that remind him and others to “believe”. When those around him go negative, he tries to comeback with a positive comment. Great role modeling here.
Spiritual Lesson: “The power of positive thinking” is a central concept in the writings of Normal Vincent Peale and in all New Thought teachings. There is a recognition in many spiritual teachings that our thoughts create our reality. Yes, this is the “law of attraction” which was made popular by the movie “The Secret” (even if that movie left out some key points about the “law”, in my opinion). However, most metaphysical/spiritual teachings tell you that if you truly want to create the best possible life, then it is essential that you see the good in life and maintain a positive outlook.
Lesson Two: Be Curious About Life
Ted Lasso: Ted is continuously asking people about themselves so he can learn more. He goes about with an openness to what’s going on around him so that he can explore life. He even points out his curiosity about life and contrasts himself to so many people who are not curious when he challenges and beats his boss’s ex-husband in a game of darts. He chides the man for making assumptions about him and not even bothering to ask if he knew how to play the game. Ted calls us to see life as a great playground where we can explore, learn and have fun.
Spiritual Lesson: We are spiritual beings having a human experience. As we navigate through this material life, one of the key metaphysical messages we need to take to heart is to not close ourselves off to life, but instead to be open to the gifts this wonderful third dimension experience offers us. When we see the wonder and the miracles of life that are all around us, we cannot avoid being in a state of awe. And the more wonder we see, the more wonder we experience (see lesson one).
Lesson Three: You are Interconnected to All
Ted Lasso: Although I don’t recall Ted ever stating that sense of interconnectedness specifically, he certainly lives his life as if he were aware of that fact. He sees something special in everyone he meets. He asks them their name and remembers it, showing he values them. He seeks to feel connected to those around him. He recognizes that everyone around him has a gift to give and something he can learn from them. He is less concerned with winning or losing but sees life as about each person expressing their best. In fact, he feels that his key role in life is to help everyone around him express their highest and greatest talents. He knows that it is more important to cooperate with others than to compete with them. He teaches others to believe in themselves and then exhibits that he believes in them as well.
Spiritual Lesson: Once we begin to live life with an awareness that we are all one, then we lose our interest in competition, we care less and less about “winning and losing”. We recognize that when others win, we win as well. Hence, we begin to see how our role is to be a catalyst for every expression of the divine (you and me) to find our personal calling and to live it fully.
Lesson Four: Life’s Challenges are Opportunities for Growth
Ted Lasso: Ted has setbacks. He experiences negative things. But, he bounces back from them and tries to see the lesson for him. He tries to grow from the bad things that happen to him. He encourages others to let go of the tendency to dwell on negative stuff. He reminds folks to “be a goldfish” because then they can forget whatever negative experience just happened to them within a few seconds. Ted wants his team to learn the lessons of their experiences but not live in the past.
Spiritual Lesson: Spiritually speaking, we need to be looking at our lives as a type of “school” where we learn, grow and evolve. We want to continuously strive to be the best person we can be…..enjoying life, expressing our gifts and talents, being the best version of ourselves that we can be. When we dwell on the past, our thoughts tend to bring us more of the same (see lesson one). When we don’t learn from the past, we tend to repeat it. Spiritual growth comes from learning and applying life’s lessons….and knowing that you are going to be OK.
Lesson Five: The Power of Forgiveness
Ted Lasso: Probably one of the biggest moments in the first season is when Ted’s boss, Rebecca, reveals to him that she has been setting him up for months trying to ensure that he fails as a coach and brings the team down with him. Ted has plenty he could be mad about in that moment, but instead, he hears her out and then gives her a hug and forgives her saying that “divorce is hard” and that it makes people “do crazy things.” Here’s the touching video:
Spiritual Lesson: We humans experience disappoints and betrayals all the time. If we wanted to walk around holding resentments and grudges, we have plenty of just cause to do so. But life is short and we have to ask ourselves do we want to waste it being mad at someone? Besides, haven’t we all made mistakes and wronged someone ourselves at some point in our lives? When we choose to hold on to the anger, that anger feeds more negative experiences in our life. When we forgive, we release that negative energy and open our lives to greater experiences. The truth is, forgiveness is not something we “give to another person” but rather something we “do for ourselves”. Yes, we all appreciate hearing and benefiting from the message that someone we wronged has “forgiven us”. But even more important is the feeling and growth that comes from our forgiving ourselves for our mistakes.
Lesson Six: With Truth Comes Freedom
Ted Lasso: When Ted’s boss unburdens herself about her deception to Ted (and he forgives her, see lesson five), her life shifts. She is no longer living the lie of deception. When she releases what she has been doing, with it her life moves to a place of greater and greater freedom to be who she really is. She starts befriending others and caring about them at new levels. Her life expands. Her character in the show changes dramatically with this freedom.
Spiritual Lesson: Spiritually, we can live in a lie or we can live in truth about who and what we are. There’s an old Bible saying that “the truth will set you free”. The more we become aware of “who we really are” and begin to live in alignment with that, the happier and freer we become. This is often referred to as living an “authentic” life. Being authentic allows us to let go of what others think about us and do what is truly in our heart.
Lesson Seven: Change and Love are Spiritual Evolutionary Forces
Ted Lasso:Ted’s move to England is a massive personal change. People believe Ted will fail as a coach and treat him with disdain. His players at first resent being coached by someone with no experience with soccer. The press seek to make a mockery of him. He knows all this but he let’s it roll off of him. Instead, he accepts the change of his new role and ultimately wins everyone over by being his true self and expressing care and concern…..love….for all those around him. And the changes he experiences in his life through embracing his new role have grown him tremendously. However, his biggest challenge comes from Ted’s wife who moves from simply “wanting space” to “wanting a divorce”. It is not what Ted wants, of course. But ultimately he realizes that he loves her so much that he cannot cling to her, he has to release her to be her true self. The biggest display of love he can give is to embrace this undesired change. He has to let go of clinging to someone that he loves and allow them the freedom they feel they need. This act of love serves to deeper their friendship and gives Ted the freedom to live an even more expansive life. Ted’s love for his wife and wanting her to be happy not only serves her growth and evolution, but Ted’s as well. Ted comes to that realization in this half time talk to his team:
Spiritual Lesson: Love is a feeling, an emotion that we all know. Yet from a spiritual standpoint, we need to recognize that love is a force for our growth and evolution. Love allows us to break down that sense of separation we feel from others and instead to feel more connected to them. Love brings us to a true feeling of unity and oneness. When we express our love for others, we are saying that “we see you and we care about you…and we know that we are ultimately interconnected”. When someone we love wants to move on from being in our lives physically, love allows us to see that even though we may no longer be interacting with one another in material life…..we will always remain connected….through our love, our memories….and our deep realization that when I give to you what you need, even if it hurts me in the moment, it is serving you….and through serving you, is helping the One, which includes me ultimately.
So there you have it…some thoughts on spiritual messages in Ted Lasso. Have you watched it? What messages did you detect? I’d love to hear your thoughts!