Ted Lasso’s Culture of Kindness Helps All of Us

By Lucy Broadbent
on 18 May 2023

There’s a Lassoism that has been bouncing around the internet since the very first season of Ted Lasso. It is when an ebullient Ted tells Rebecca: “You know what you do with tough cookies? You dip ‘em in milk.”

Now as we reach the end of Season Three, we see the long-term effect of that philosophy. We see the consequences of soaking rigid, difficult people in kindness, generosity, and decency.  Episode Ten of this possibly final season shows us how dipping tough cookies in milk, namely the other characters in the show, has softened them up.

Once a vengeful ‘hot mess’, Rebecca has mellowed so much, she no longer wants to hurt her cruel ex-husband.  Irate and uptight Roy Kent has become so kind-hearted he’ll wear a bright tie-die t-shirt to please his niece, and most importantly is now prepared to look past his anger to self-examine.  

Nate, who once spat at mirrors in self-disgust, has ripened into someone who leaves a sprig of lavender and an apology to Will, the kitman, he was once unkind to.  Jamie Tartt, once egocentric and conceited, is now a team player and supporter of others.

Each of them was so inflexible, the cracks were showing.  But over the seasons we see how Ted’s influence has helped them let go of the things that once held them back and made them unhappy.  They have reconciled themselves with who they are. They’ve faced their own fears, confronted their own negativity and feelings of being unworthy, and emerged as calmer, happier people.

Of course, that kind of transformation is easy to write into a TV show, and much harder in real life, but there are real lessons to be learned from the generosity of spirit that Ted spreads. That’s the genius of this show. Ted Lasso is the hero unlike any other that has gone before because his positivity and optimism can spread beyond the TV and into our own lives too if we let it.  It’s why the TV show is so successful – because it’s relatable.

It also happens to be based in science too. Some years ago, an experiment was conducted at the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia in which a group of people were given ten dollars and told they could either keep the money or give any amount of it away. “What we found, consistent with our past research, was that the more money people gave away, the happier they felt,” explains Dr Liz Dunn, co-author of Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending.

“Conversely though, the more money people kept for themselves, the more shame they experienced. And the more shame people felt, the more we saw their cortisol levels rise, which is important because cortisol is thought to explain some of the links that we’ve seen between stress and disease.”

In the field of psychology, kindness and its impact on well-being has gained more and more attention in recent years. “Kindness not only feels good but also does us good,” explains Marianna Pogosyan, Ph.D in Psychology Today.  “Connecting with others through kind deeds allows us to meet our basic psychological needs of relatedness and belonging. Performing acts of kindness can also increase life satisfaction. It can stimulate the release of serotonin, increase trust, reduce fear and anxiety.  For the elderly, pro-social behaviour can promote longevity.  For teenagers, it can boost self-esteem.”

There was, as always, much to digest in Episode 10 of this clever show. Every person who watches it takes away something different from it each time but woven through it always is the rich seam of kindness.  It’s a helpful reminder.

Lucy Broadbent is the author of What Would Ted Lasso Do? How Ted’s Positive Approach Can Help You. Find it on Amazon here.

Ted Lasso
Lucy Broadbent With Her New Book What Would Ted Lasso Do?

Ted Lasso Season 3 is streaming on Apple TV+

Why Choose Kindness:  https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/between-cultures/201904/why-choose-kindness

Liz Dunn on Happiness and Money: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwmWHV79vTQ

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