It is Never Perfect - The Art of Letting Go (By Carlos Pavao, P.O.W.E.R. Consultant)


It is Never Perfect – The Art of Letting Go

By Carlos Pavao, P.O.W.E.R. Consultant


Sometimes when we are immersed in crafting a paper or a poem we can become obsessed with our work, fearing the work will never be complete or that we will make a mistake. We muster our last energy to reword a phrase or take on the daunting task of reorganizing a paragraph. Sometimes we look over our work with a feeling of incompleteness or lacking confidence. At one point or another we have all said, “I am almost done; just a little bit more. I want this to be perfect!” We can learn how to deal with these feelings and situations from other life experiences, like cooking or painting, and apply them to our writing experiences.


Writing and editing is a process. Much like cooking, we need to get to a place where we are almost satisfied with our edible creation (we secretly hope it will be edible), then have enough confidence to let go, and let it cook. In other words, the magic underlying the art of cooking is to know intuitively that your dish is just perfect enough to cook and then to be served. For example, in preparing a meatloaf we can get obsessed about the exact amount of ingredients or get sidetracked with adding other ingredients, like feta cheese, that one can easily forget to know exactly how long the meatloaf needs to cook. Being creative and not becoming obsessed with our cooking is part of the learning process; and sometimes we can become surprised at the results of our experimentations. In this case, having a slightly overcooked meatloaf infused with feta cheese can be a tasty delight. Next time, we will know how long the meatloaf needs to cook for. One way or another, in order to learn from prior mistakes, you need to make mistakes. To become a chef or a good cook takes practice, and sometimes we learn most from prior cooking mistakes.


There is a saying in the substance abuse recovery movement, “Let Go and Let God”.  This quote has carried me through many writing adventures when I just wanted the poem to sound a certain way or my short story to convey certain emotions. This recovery quote reinforces the notion that it is OK to be human and make mistakes. Emmanuel Kant made a poignant note, “From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight is ever fashioned.”1 Similar to the “Let Go and Let God” quote above, the underlining message from Kant’s quote is that humans are essentially flawed creatures. This quote gives us permission to err, experiment and to let go. So, the next time you find yourself fretting over a sentence wording structure, or find yourself obsessed with your cake because you want the icing to have the same thickness and consistency throughout, I say to you “Let Go and Let God” and enjoy the moment while you eat cake with family and friends. No one is going to judge you by the thickness of the cake’s icing or that you forgot to include an adjective in your sentence. “Let Go and Let God”.



1. Lucas, Rob (Transcribed) David Hume’s Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View (1784). Translation by Lewis White Beck. From Immanuel Kant, “On History,” The Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1963.