It is what it is

“It is what it is.” she said to me with a tone of implied finality. I contained the boiling rage within.

The urban dictionary has a great definition of this horrid phrase:

Used often in the business world, this incredibly versatile phrase can be literally translated as “fuck it.”

It’s resignation to any additional effort being committed towards doing what is right on any particular subject.


I do not subscribe to this self-sabotaging philosophy. In business it’s used when someone doesn’t want to back track their own mistakes, usually around planning, execution, timelines, or budget. It is only at the end, when those that do the doing as opposed to those that are supposed to do the thinking, raise the project flags and say “Hey, something is wrong here. Something is sub-par here. Something is unacceptable here.”

The same applies to our personal lives.

Nobody wants to take responsibility for things. Instead of spending the effort in looking where things went wrong, and whether things can be improved now, or in the long run, it’s simply easier to shrug your shoulder and state “it is what it is.” or in other words, “I give up”, “I don’t care”, “fuck it”.

I am physically shuddering right now.

What is with this defeatist attitude towards life? When did accepting anything less than the very best of what we are capable of become acceptable? Why do we no longer strive towards the ideal, but instead work towards “good enough” if we are willing to work at all instead of just being spoon fed what we need to simply get by?

To me, it’s completely intolerable. I will not allow it into my thought processes, nor my daily habits, nor my outlook towards my lives.

I give everything I have to everything I do. I solve problems. I exert influence. I turn “It is what it is” into “This is what it should be.”

How could I not? How can you not?

Imagine getting your vehicle serviced and the job was “good enough.” Would you accept that? Would you still pay full price for it?

Or the produce you buy rotting in a few hours. “It is what it is.”

You would never accept that of anyone else’s efforts, so why would you accept it for yourself?

I’m good and steamed now. The typing just keeps flowing.

Destroy “It is what it is” from your environment. If it’s something spoken at work by colleagues, smack the stupid right out of them. If it’s a habitual excuse from friends/family/lovers, challenge with the response of “Well, how do we make it what it should be”? Lead by example.

Always push boundaries. Never settle. Never get comfortable. Always want more. Always do more. Always expect more. From you. From others. From life.

Call out excuses for what they are, bullshit rationales for not doing the right thing. “It is what it is.” My ass.

It is what I make it.


5 responses to “It is what it is

        • Not everyone begins there. Sometimes you have to smooth out the kinks. Sometimes someone has to smooth them out of you. A big ass hammer comes in handy if you’re handy. When you’ve gotten to the point where if you look back, and that thing only swings to rest on your shoulder, you’ve gotten pretty far. Don’t give them an inch. Swing like you mean it. What you can make with the pieces is sometimes better than what was there before.

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