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The Wisdom of Wordle's Wardle

Enough is Enough Joe Heller True story, Word of Honor: Joseph Heller, an important and funny writer now dead, and I were at a party given by a billionaire on Shelter Island. I said, “Joe, how does it make you feel to know that our host only yesterday may have made more money than your novel ‘Catch-22’ has earned in its entire history?” And Joe said, “I’ve got something he can never have.” And I said, “What on earth could that be Joe?” And Joe said, “The knowledge that I’ve got enough.” Not bad! Rest in peace! -Kurt Vonnegut I was reminded of Kurt Vonnegut’s poem “Joe Heller” this week when reading about Josh Wardle, the creator of word puzzle sensation Wordle. For those of you who have never played, Wordle is a game in which you get six chances to guess a five-letter word. Guessing a letter in the correct position in the word rewards you a with a green square. The correct letter in the wrong position is yellow, and a gray square tells you that the letter is not in the word. It's fun! Go ahead, give it a try: https://www.powerlanguage.co.uk/wordle/ Wordle’s creator seems bemused by his newfound fame that has made him the target of venture capitalists and other opportunists who would turn his creation into an industry. One can imagine Wordle t-shirts, Wordle coffee mugs, and perhaps even a Wordle song by Wordlely artist Drake. So far, Josh Wardle has resisted the temptation to make Wordle anything more than it already is. He has resisted the temptation to interrupt his game with ads, to turn it into a mobile app for which players would have to pay if they want to play uninterrupted, and he has resisted the temptation to make Wordle addictive. Wordle is a single word per day, an experience joyously, and sometimes frustratingly, shared among a passionate community of Wordlers. Josh Wardle purposely did what you’re not supposed to do if your goal is growth. He didn’t design his game with the goal of holding people's attention in a headlock for hours on end. He designed Wordle to play with his girlfriend, and somehow it caught on with his family, then millions more. He likes giving Wordle away for free, and enjoys seeing the creative ways in which people have responded to it, but he doesn’t want Wordle take over his life. The business angle doesn’t intrigue him. He knows his passion lies in creating things that he finds interesting. In other words, Josh Wardle, like Joseph Heller, knows that he already has enough. “It’s really easy to be seduced by all that stuff, but I try and instead be like…I was happy then, and I think I’d be happy in the future if that’s where it ends…it’s just her and me playing again.” - Josh Wardle My question for you is this: Are there areas in your life where you have enough and yet continue to pursue more? If so, are you paying for your “more-than-enoughness” with areas of your life that have become not enough? The Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh devoted his life to sharing the idea that where there is enough there is peace. Each moment in which you are fully present has enoughness in it. Here are a few of his words of wisdom to ponder as you consider how much is enough: “To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don't need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. Take my hand. We will walk. We will only walk. We will enjoy our walk without thinking of arriving anywhere.” - Thich Nhat Hanh Bonus tip to enhance your wellbeing: do a Wordle first thing in the morning before you check your email, scan social media, or bathe your brain in (bad) news. Get Fully Charged on Enough is Enough Wordle founder Josh Wardle on going viral and what comes next.” Ingrid Lunden and Amanda Silberling, TechCrunch, January 12, 2022. “What is Enough?” Mike Dickson, TEDx Exeter, 2012. “Google seeks out wisdom of Zen master Thich Nhat Hahn: Global tech companies are connecting to the power of mindfulness and meditation to drive sustainability and happiness.” Jo Confino, The Guardian, September 5, 2013

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