My favorite take-away from ‘Ted Lasso’ for creative people

I’m a big fan of the show Ted Lasso. And though the series ended a while ago now, it’s been on my mind a lot lately while I’ve been mourning the passing of an inspiring and beloved manager (much like Ted) who had hosted team building events for us to watch together.

The show has wise messages for people in any career, but one of my favorites for culture workers and creatives specifically is: be curious, not judgmental.

Museum people are the most curious people I know. For many of us, curiosity is what drives our lifelong love of learning, our sense of wonder and craving for experiences that transport us emotionally, our desire to understand every rhyme and reason of visitors’ behaviors, and our creativity itself. You needn’t tell us to ‘stay curious.’

Yet we can probably all recount moments at work when we found ourselves on the judgmental side of the spectrum.

Consider a time when a colleague handled a problem in a jarringly different way than you would. In this situation, did you find yourself using a judgmental mindset or a curious one?

Judgmental MindsetCurious Mindset
“They probably just don’t have the experience yet to know better.”“What might be their reasons for doing it that way?”
“They’re not understanding the problem.”“Are they seeing other problems than the one I’m focused on?”
“That’s so like them to be
[insert personality trait].”
“How do the differences in our personalities make us capable of results I couldn’t get alone?”

Here are what I see as the most common causes lurking behind our judgments:

  • Ego – this is the voice that says, “My conviction in my beliefs or approach means that other takes must be inferior.” 
  • Unconscious bias – this is the voice that says, “Some people need to earn my trust more than others.”
  • Fatigue – this is the one culture workers experience most disproportionately to people in other industries. It says, “With everything I have to get done, my internal productivity machine can’t afford the monkey wrench of an unexpected change.”

Do you agree? What else would you add to this list?

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