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Logo Logo Nick Hodges

Life lessons from Wordle

/ 3 min read

I do the Wordle every day. It’s one of the reasons that I subscribe to the New York Times (something I plan on writing about…). And it occurs to me that the simplicity of the Wordle is a pretty good life lesson.

My approach to Wordle is to play on Hard Mode. This requires that I use all the information that I have, meaning if I have a green and yellow letter or letters, then I have to guess words that meet that knowledge. If I have ‘D’ as green in the first spot, I can only guess words that start with ‘D’.

I do this because it seems to me that this is the best way to win. It’s not necessarily the best way to solve faster, but it is the best way to solve without failing. I’m all about the streak, and so I want every word I guess to be a possible solution, and don’t want to guess a word that can’t be the solution.

That is, as most things in life are, a trade-off. A non-solving guess could give me more information, but a guess that could be a solution, well, could get me a solution, right?

This was a bit of a tricky word

I carefully consider each move, trying not to be impulsive. I check things to make sure that I’m gathering as much information as I can with each guess, and that I’m not wasting a letter by using a yellow letter in a place that I have already tried it. I seek to maximize the value of each guess while making sure that each try could be a solution. Oftentimes, there is good information in the letters that you have guessed, as opposed to what you haven’t. And I’m willing to take a bit of a risk on a guess — maybe I’ll choose a double letter word early on instead in a bid to solve the puzzle.

This works for me pretty well. (However, I can’t seem to get past my personal streak best of 47. I’ve failed in the mid-forties like six times. Alas.)

And it occurs to me that all this is a good metaphor for life. One should follow the same approach when making life decisions. One ought to be careful with a decision, gathering as much information as possible and make a good decision that could move things forward. Impulsiveness is to be avoided, and careful consideration with a little daring can lead to great outcomes. And don’t be afraid to take a considered risk.

Not a bad way to live.