Intelligence is Overrated

Sometimes all you need is a lollipop – Life lessons learned from Candy Crush

luck_opportunity_preparationIt was night and eerily quiet except for the occasional thunder and the pitter-patter of rain on my window. I was in my office, playing Candy Crush. For the past few months, I had been obsessed with becoming more intelligent: to learn how to strategize, to solve problems. I wanted to train my brain to think harder, for longer, to think more like a chess master or a world-class bridge player: seeing the end at the beginning and planning for it.

And there I got my chance. Having tried for the last few days to pass a particularly hard level, I had ten moves left and only one jelly to eradicate. How could I plan these ten moves? How could I, finally, make it through?

In the dimness of my space, something shiny caught the corner of my eye. It glinted. That’s when I realized what I had to do. Looking at the array of destructive ammo I had amassed as a result of hours playing mindlessly, I took out a lollipop and smashed the last jelly to smithereens as the thunder clapped away in the night!

“Wonderful!” enthused the Candy Crush fairy, “level completed.”

Sometimes, I realized, what we need to traverse adversity is not one remarkable, otherworldly skill. Success can be achieved with a set of mundane tools, that, when combined together, form a magical whole. So what can be learned from one of the world’s most successful mind-numbing games?

It’s mostly luck – but the more arsenal you have the easier it is

Whether or not you pass the level in Candy Crush is not determined by how you plan and strategize, but by how the candies fall – the luck of the draw, as they say.

This having been said, the more lollipops, coconut pinwheels, jelly fish and colored bombs you have, the easier it is to smash your way through and make it to the next level.



Nothing trumps consistency – show up everyday and you will build up an impressive arsenal

In the end, it wasn’t great planning and strategic thinking that I needed to pass, not some sort of supernatural intelligence, just some arsenal. And I had found it when I needed it most because I had shown up every day, diligently and consistently, spun the wheel and saved what it had offered me, even if I wasn’t playing. Eventually it saved me from playing the same level fifty times. Again. If you come back every day, even for a short period of time, you will amass enough ammo to beat the pulp out of any candy formation. Might is right. Armor is power.


Sometimes there’s nothing you can do

Still, sometimes all the arsenal in the world won’t make you go up a level. No matter which boosters you select, the candy bomb, or the wrapper or the pinwheel or the jellied fish, you just will not make it through the level. The only thing to do is to wait, stay patient and wait for your luck to turn. If necessary, take some space (I know, it’s hard) take a break and come back with a fresh viewpoint. Sometimes distancing yourself is the best solution.

Persistence – your luck will turn

If you’re stuck on a hard level and you have no ammo, keep going! Persist! Your luck will turn and the candy will eventually fall in a pattern that you can crush away with the given number of moves.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAKLAAAAJGVmZWM1MWQ5LWEzZTctNGFlZC1hNGVlLTcwNTEwZjBlOTcyYwDon’t get too comfortable – complacency can only make you fail

You may be on a winning streak, zooming through the levels like a fire on a hot, dry and windy day. Although the field may look wide open and exactly like the one before it, do not let complacency hamper you. Always pay attention, just because it’s the same idea doesn’t mean that the goal is not different. If you notice too late that it’s five cherries you’re after and not just two, your lives may end before you’ve had the chance to finish.

The fairy will eventually reward you – how patience can save you money

The geniuses at King (the developers of Candy Crush) have thought up great ways to make you part with your money, one of them being paying to move on to the next phase once you’ve reached the end of the path you’re on. Your other option is to wait three days. In one’s excitement, it may be difficult to resist paying the $1 fee it takes to move forward. However, with over 120 phases (and counting) you could easily end up wasting money better given to charity or spent on a nice evening out. So be patient, your eyes could probably do with the break anyway.

bingo-JackpotForget it, you’re never going to hit the jackpot – just get to work

Have you ever hit the jackpot? Neither have I. And that is because you’re not meant to. Every time you spin the wheel, it glitches if it looks like it will hit the jackpot. So forget it, just keep showing up every day and build your arsenal slowly but surely.

It is possible to have too much of a good thing

Mindless games like Candy Crush can definitely be seen as a way to relax and unwind, but too much time spent on them can end up making you feel worse than when you started, and regretful as to wasted time and opportunity. As always, consume in moderation, otherwise it just puts a huge dent in your productivity.


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