“It Is What It Is”: The Enemy Of Progress

The phrase “it is what it is” is generally used to describe a challenging situation that we are told to just accept and move. It’s basically saying that it sucks, but there is nothing you can do about it. Although that might be true in some scenarios, there is something we can do to improve any situation most of the time.

Simply saying “It is what it is” sounds more like “I give up” or “I quit” to me. Typically, that’s not the right idea. Being in a bad situation sucks, but giving up or quitting isn’t going to make it any better. If there is something, anything you can do to try and at least improve the situation, you should do it.

What if everyone said it?

What if everyone that got into a difficult situation simply said, “Ah well, it is what it is.” Think about how different our lives would be. Countless times in history, people have had their backs up against the wall or have been in difficult spots but refused to give up. They might have failed ten times already, but they thought the eleventh try would work.

Inventors, businessmen and women, sports figures, war generals, scientists, and countless other professions all have their difficult moments and failures. However, suppose everyone simply accepted these situations and went along with them. In that case, we’d be missing out on some of the best moments and successes in history.

Don’t Accept Your Situation

Everyone’s life and financial situations are different, so I’m not going to pretend to understand everyone’s lives exactly. However, I know we all face hardships to one extent or another. I also know that shrugging our shoulders and using “it is what it is” as an excuse to do nothing isn’t going to solve anything. Really, the phrase is just a way to make ourselves feel better about giving up.

There is always something you can try to do to fix, or at the very least, improve your situation. Lost your job? Find a new one. Can’t find a new one? Apply to even more jobs, learn a new skill, or take a class. Tried these ideas already? Think outside the box; I don’t know, try starting a blog.

If you need money, there are tons of side hustles in this gig economy world we live in to help make ends meet until a new job comes. 

Losing your job is simply one example, but there are countless issues you might be facing. No matter what it, “it is what it is” will block you from moving forward, it will stop you from achieving your goals. 


The point is, accepting the situation won’t make it better anytime soon. Too many times, we hope something will come up, or we’ll get lucky. Well, by actively trying to correct the situation, you’ll make your own luck or make something happen faster than doing nothing. 

If what you’re doing isn’t working, then try something else. We’re not going to get it right the first try, or maybe the second, third, or fourth try. But, if you keep going and learn from your mistakes and missteps, eventually, you’ll get to what does work.

In some cases, maybe you have exhausted all of your options. Perhaps you’ve turned over every rock, hunted down every lead, simply done everything you could. If this is the case, you can at least take solace in the fact that there is nothing more you can do. You gave everything you had to rectify the problem. 

However, until you reach that point, until you know nothing more can be done, the phrase “it is what it is” will continue to be the enemy of our own progress.