On Letting Go

I’m not very good at letting things go. I have learned to forgive easily (I’m pretty much incapable of bearing a grudge), but if I know that someone is carrying around a misconception, it will literally keep me up at night. I want people to know and understand the RIGHT answers to their questions. I want people to thoroughly understand ALL my reasons for doing something (at least from a high level). I want my husband to know EVERYTHING he’s doing wrong.

Okay, I’ve grown out of that last one (mostly), but I still have trouble letting things go.

For example, some of the commenters on my post, “Why IT Goes Nuts Sometimes,” have the impression that I’m nuts because I have to deal with stuff coming to my predecessor instead of to me. (That doesn’t bug me at all; the non-support by the guy who emailed me was what drove me nuts.) Knowing that these commenters had the wrong impression has seriously bugged me until this moment, when I could correct it in this post.

Why do I need to let go of my lack of letting things go?

  • Most people’s brains, attention spans, and patience cannot take a rapid-fire list of everything.
  • Contrary to what I usually like to think, I am not always right.
  • I don’t ever want to know every little detail of something. (And it actually drives me nuts when geeks do a deep-dive into the how-to or how something works in a 30-minute meeting.)
  • Most people don’t really care about having the wrong impression of something trivial.

In my experience, many geeks have this same tendency (Edit: You know, like this comic.). This is why management gets bored with technical details or users get frustrated at lengthy explanations. Does my boss care about every high-level reason behind my strategy? Nope; just the most important business-related ones.

Just as I get frustrated with getting bogged down in details, others get frustrated by long lists of abstract reasons. Or worse, lists of their faults or mistakes as I see them. Now that I’m more cognizant of this, perhaps I can let it go.