The final count: 423 words in a row.
I stared at the screen for a few seconds in disbelief. Nothing lasts forever, of course. But my year-plus run of beating Wordle had started to feel pretty close. The game’s six steps had always been enough to solve the five-letter word of the day, even if it was sometimes by the skin of my teeth.
But not this time.
“Current streak: 0.”
The word on the screen was CREDO, as in a core statement of belief. The word from my mouth … um, may not have had five letters in it.
The worst part? I’d done it to myself. My guesses had uncovered all five letters of the answer, but I’d read too quickly to notice and only used four.The information was there. The brain was not.
And if that sounds way too familiar, I’m not surprised.
Sherlock Holmes used to warn about the dangers of reasoning from incomplete data. But in this information-soaked age, the more common problem is likely to be the reverse: complete data, incomplete reasoning. We get tired. Or distracted. Or even overwhelmed as we try to handle “everything, everywhere, all at once,” which these days is not just a movie, it’s a way of life.
Whatever the reason, it creates a brain wreck. Sometimes it’s just annoying, like spotting an error in an email you sent just give minutes ago. Other times, it’s bigger – maybe even on the level of national news. (“BREAKING: GOVERNMENT FAILED TO ACT ON WARNINGS.”)
But in a weird way, it’s also hopeful. It means learning is possible.
If you visit here regularly, you may know that I’m also a tabletop roleplayer who runs Dungeons & Dragons games for his nephews. (If you didn’t know that, yes, I’m even geekier than you realized.) I bring it up because a lot of modern games now include the concept of “failing forward.” In a roleplaying game, it means that a failure should always advance the story in some way, even while making things harder.
In real life, it’s an even simpler concept: that a failure you can learn from is not a total failure. It’s the beginning of a future success.
It hurts. No question. It’s frustrating beyond belief. And even when you know what needs to improve, it’s often not easy. It often means retraining habits, pushing beyond old expectations, even asking for help. Learning’s not a comfortable thing.
But it’s a possible thing. It can be done. And that’s what matters.
The story can move forward.
And despite what the world tells you, it doesn’t have to move forward at a rush. Take the time you need. Examine the situation. Learn the pieces you have and be ready to look for new ways they might fit.
It doesn’t guarantee a win. But it keeps you in the game. And with enough struggle and awareness and growth, it can eventually spell something pretty G-R-E-A-T.
At least, that’s my credo.