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Manifesto Musings

Elephant or Goldfish?

November 2023
— Reading Time: 2 minutes

In the Emmy award winning comedy TV series, Ted Lasso, there are many quotable quotes and powerful messages related to building culture, fostering belief, and nurturing passion.

With the help of his trusty assistant, Coach Beard, Ted Lasso, a successful American college football coach, is appointed to manage a struggling English Premier League football team, and this is a type of football, soccer, that he knows nothing about.  However, what Ted lacks in subject specific football knowledge, he makes up for with his proficient knowledge and skill of leading, inspiring, and caring for a group of people.

In one particular episode, Ted asks one of his dejected players, “Do you know what the happiest animal on earth is?” Ted then proceeds to tell him it’s the goldfish. Why? Because they only have a ten-second memory!

It’s Ted’s playful way of helping a player overcome his disappointment and frustration of not playing well, helping him to forget past ‘failures’ and to get out there and try again. Reminding ourselves to be a goldfish can help us to move on from setbacks. It can also help reduce our fear of making mistakes and can inspire us to take on hard challenges and to have a go.

Of course, there are times where we need to take heed of the lessons learnt from the prior failure other than just ‘forgetting’ it, and this is where the option of being like an elephant – who never forgets – can be a helpful decision. For example, if we discover we have emotionally hurt someone due to how we treated them, this would be a wise time to be like an elephant and ingrain the life lesson so as to minimise the likelihood of repeating the mistake.

At my manifesto, we hope the essence of this fun animal choice will help you bravely and persistently put yourself out there and give things a go, and, when necessary, assist you to grow and gain in wisdom.

We are yet to see the actual phrase ‘elephant or goldfish’ included in someone’s manifesto, but we’re sure it’s only a matter of time!

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