Hey tech lead, do you know when to let go?

Short post tonight. It’s been a long day for me where the culmination of three months of work came to a head, right up until the final few hours.

I stopped at the hotel bar for a minute on the way to the room, as you do on a day like this.

A guy was next to me, and he ordered some kind of brown liquor neat. Then he watched the bartender carefully. Perhaps inevitably, she started to put ice in the drink. (You don’t put ice in a “neat” drink, just so we’re aligned.)

“Wait, Wait!” He called out in an unnecessarily loud voice across the entire bar. “Don’t you know what neat means?” Again, in an unnecessarily loud and now condescending voice — all the way across the bar.

She proceeded to make a new drink. No ice. No big deal. A conversation that could have waited for few moments.

Said bar patron gruffly accepted the drink and left muttering to his friend about the service.

I thought it was a good side car story for the day’s events, which I haven’t relayed to you in detail, but you’re a tech lead and you know deadline days. You’ve been there. Days like this are messy and chaotic. Many, including me sometimes, cling too tightly to results (as opposed to actions) we can’t control. So it was for me today.

In life, as in zen, you need to have absolute focus, commitment, and follow through on what you can control. But once you’ve done all you can, you need to let go. Let go of control and let go of the result. If you cling too tightly to the result after you’ve done all you can, well that’s the road to madness and cynicism.

I’m a huge advocate of the idea that you can control or influence more than most people think they can, but there’s a point where that influence stops and you need to absolutely let go right there.

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