Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.
Let me keep company always with those who say
“Look!” and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads. — Mary Oliver
Around the new year, all these peculiar little graphs with colored squares started popping up in my Facebook feed seemingly out of nowhere. It was, and is, Wordle, a daily word game that has taken the world — or just many on my friend’s list — by storm. You may have noticed these graphs. You may even be playing. I am.
I won’t spend time explaining how Wordle works because that is easy enough to dig up and that is not what this is about. What struck me was in the daily shares that were popping up in my feed, I noticed some interesting take-aways about the puzzle. To be clear, Wordle is not a competition. You are not in a race to win something. It’s not high stakes. It’s also not something to beat yourself up over. It’s simply a daily word puzzle challenge.
I noticed right away that with the sharing of these graphs and in the comments, I was seeing both gloating and self-flagellation: “Got it in three!” “Today took me six tries. :(” “I suck at this. I never did figure it out.” “WOOT: Got it in TWO!” I relate to this so much because this has been my default mode as well until I remember to remind myself that how I perform at the game each day says nothing about my worth or intelligence and it actually says only a little about my acumen with five-letter words. (A lot of times, it can be any number of words but it just isn’t and it is a game of luck then.) (Yes, I’m a bit salty. More on that later.) All it says is I have now learned how the rules work and each day will challenge me a little more or a little less. It is no reason to feel super impressed or deflated about myself. Tomorrow is another game.
What if, instead of feeling defeated because it took us more tries than the day before or the person whose post we’re seeing, we think, “It challenged me but I stuck with it today.” What if, instead of thinking we are next level word wizards on those easy days, we think, “I did do well today. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.” What if, instead of feeling like failures for not solving the puzzle, we think…