tides of life: 5 principals i learned at sea
words to live by: i'm still here

6 life lessons i picked up playing scrabble


scrabble inspiration ()

"Remember, when you don’t know what to do,
it never hurts to play Scrabble.
It’s like reading the I Ching or tea leaves."

Kelly Link


Since I downloaded the Scrabble iPad app back in January, I've been playing Scrabble almost every single night. (Yes, that is a clear respresentation of how wild and exhilerating my social life is.) Much as as I hate to admit it, I actually love it. On the nights I haven't played, I've actually missed it -- something I never thought I'd say about a board -- or any kind of -- game. Game playing was never my thing. I don't like teams. I don't like taking turns. I grow bored easily and become frustrated if I don't win. But there's something about Scrabble that has me hooked. Maybe it's the words, maybe it's the pretty HD screen on my iPad, or maybe it's just a sign that, even though I'm still in my twenties, I've accepted my role in society as an 80-year-old woman, safely tucked into my apartment each night with my modern version of Scrabble.

Whatever the reason, that little Scrabble board has brought a great new element of excitment to my post-work routine, and, there's always a little burst of happiness that shoots through me when I hear my boyfriend reply, "Sure!" after I've asked the inevitable, "Wanna play Scrabble?" question. (Lucky for me, he's as hooked on the game as I am.) After thinking about it for a little while, I discovered that there are some great life lessons to be taken away from the act of placing letters on a board, and -- lucky you! -- I'm going to share them with you today. Whether you're a Scrabble fan or not, you can definitely take some insights away from the lessons I've learned from my nightly games of Scrabble.

Life Lessons From My Nightly Scrabble Routine

1. Being patient pays off.  It can be tempting to put down a good letter the second you get it, but waiting for the perfect spot to open can lead to a super jump in your score. Life's like that too. Often we want to rush in at the first chance we're giving, but sometimes a little waiting makes for an even better opportunity. You never know what word is going to be played next -- and it can pay off to be patient.

2. A good defense can beat a good offense. When I first started playing Scrabble, I had no concept of defense, but now I know that it's important to watch out for the best spots and make sure your opponent doesn't snag them first. Even if you don't have the best letters, it's important to put yourself out there and get the spot before someone else does.

3. Sometimes it's all about luck. Sometimes it really is about luck. You can have get the worst letters and, no matter what you do, you can't seem to rack up any points. It's okay to be faced with tough situations -- in Scrabble and in life -- and to realize that sometimes luck plays a roll. But that's not an excuse to give up hope! (see #4)

4. Make the most of the letters you've been dealt. No matter what your letters are, you have to make the most of them. Some days I have great letters. Other days I have crummy ones. But no matter what letters that iPad gives me, I do what I can with them. As we all should with the situations we're given in life. Do the best you can with what you're given.

5. Don't be afraid to make a risky move. If you want to win, sometimes you have to put yourself out there a little bit and take risks. To make the move you want, you might have to put down another word that could lead to a high score for someone else. But that's okay. You don't know what letters your opponent has and you never will if you don't take a chance. Be brave!

6. A close game is a good game. As much as I do love to win, it's never very much fun to dominate the Scrabble board. It's much more fun to have an opponent on the same level as you. The game is much more interesting (and it makes it just that much more statisfying if you win!). In life, it's important to stay on your toes. Keep the game close. Surround yourself with those that challenge you and you'll be sure to step up your game.


Thinking about Scrabble from a different perspective has served as a great reminder for me that just about anything can provide inspiration and wisdom if you look for it. I never thought I would be writing a post about Scrabble and what I've learned from it, but here I am, writing away! Life is full of surprises and you never know what will inspire you so keep your eyes and ears open. Inspiration is everywhere!


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The primary reason I sign into Facebook is to play scrabble. My sister and I have been playing constantly for probably more than a year now. We love to have close scores too - we get a real charge if the game is within one or two points!

And I agree - inspiration is everywhere, you just have to pay attention.

Great post! I've never played scrabble. But your scrabble was my field hockey. There are lots of great activities out there that can teach you about life. If you're applying yourself to something and you don't know if you'll win or lose, there are opportunities to learn something more.

Jennifer - That's awesome! A game with a close score is the best. I'm glad you're enjoying Scrabble as much as I am!

Molly - You should give it a try. I never thought I would be that into it, but it's awesome. It's great that you have an activity that inspires you. It's so important to have that!

Such a fun and great post. I'd add another one....

7. Sometimes your head isn't in the game, and that's okay.

How many times do we find ourselves with all the right letters to dominate a game, but we just can't seem to put the letters together into the right words. It can be frustrating, but it's okay. That's usually just a sign that it's time to take a break from the game, recharge and refocus, and come back to the game board the following day ready to win. :-)

Jason - That's an excellent point! Thanks so much for bringing that up! It's true that sometimes we have have the best letters, but not be in the right place to do something great with them. Often, when I'm feeling really tired and not playing my best, I'll take a break from the game, get some rest, and pick it up the next day. I'm always such a better player when I'm' well-rested. So glad you brought this up because it's exactly what I do -- and it works!

Being patient does pay off, and it really echoes the saying, "Good things come to those who wait."

J.D. - That's a great saying -- and such a true one!

Wow i really liked it. ANd also, it made me want to play scrabble at once haha :)

Kata - Awesome! I'm glad you liked it and I hope you got a chance to play Scrabble!

I had just started playing not long before you posted this and I have to agree I love it as well :) Those were some great tips for scrabble and life, thanks for sharing :)

MP - Yay! That's awesome that, like me, you've also become a Scrabble fan recently. It's such a great game!

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