Should we stop saying this phrase?

I am sure, at some point, you have had someone tell you: “It is what it is.” Maybe it was when you were bringing a problem to their attention, or expressing frustration with the status quo.

This particular phrase invaded my vocabulary around the time I entered the corporate world.

At first, it seemed to be make sense. A problem was identified and no solution using current means of operation was able to correct it therefore, “It is what it is”. Shrug, hands up, “Oh, well, we tried.” And like a piano out of tune, business continued as usual.

While I don’t recall when it was first used, I do remember when hearing these words began to create a dissonance in my mind.

Back when I worked for an international company, I remember bringing troubling issues of those I supervised to light and after a brief discussion, was told “It is what it is.”  I found myself frustrated with the continuing mentality that:

a) policy cannot be changed,
b) it would take too much time and effort,
c) the current way was not that broken and
d) employee satisfaction was not paramount; they should be grateful to be employed.

My takeaway was that I wanted “It is what it is” to be eliminated from our vocabulary.  I believe this phrase is an easy out and a disservice to everyone who uses it. I ponder where society would be if those historical figures who are considered the great minds of the world had given up and said, “it is what it is”.

On a smaller scale, I wonder what we could accomplish in our lives if we collectively eliminated “It is what it is” and dug deeper to find solutions. What could be achieved if we gave ourselves permission to challenge the status quo?

Personally, I want to be a rebel. I want to color outside the lines with bright, vivid colors and throw away that box I had been thinking in.

What could you accomplish, Dear Reader, if “It is what it is” was no longer in your vocabulary?

About RaeLea Hurt

When she’s not practicing her fake laughter in response to Frank’s jokes, RaeLea’s nose can often be found buried in a book. Not only is she a voracious reader, she is also capable of creating new content with peerless zeal.


  1. Hear, hear! I completely agree for all of the pragmatic reasons stated above and also, because thoughtless clichés make me wince.

  2. Sheila Hlibichuk says:

    I believe the phrase has joined the ranks of “whatever” and “que sera sera”! As for what I would do…now there’s a question I love to ponder. I would ameliorate the current education system. Our current ideas and delivery of education no longer serve our students who are the next generation of leaders, decision-makers, and molders of our country. As much as I want change, I don’t think the country is willing or ready to do what it would take to dump the old Carnegie design. So, for now, I remain the one small rebel in my own little part of the “Moving Minds” movement.

Speak Your Mind