It Is NOT: “It Is What It Is”!

I have a new least favorite phrase. One so overused it now belongs in the “Overused Cliché – That Means Nothing Hall of Fame” along with inane silence killers like “at the end of the day” and “It’s not Rocket Science” (I’m actually married to a real rocket scientist, so I hear this one in every possible social situation…).

My new least favorite set of words all used together:

“It is what is is…”

When one says “It is what it is…” – this is what I hear:

  • I don’t care
  • I don’t want to care
  • I can’t change it anyway
  • I don’t want to change it anyway
  • I’m not in control of that, so it’s not worth my effort
  • I don’t want to take control of it, so I’m not going to make any effort
  • Now, I’m going back to complaining that politicians suck, that the economy sucks and that I can’t find a job – because employers suck

Here’s a news flash…

“IT” is whatever you make it out to be. “IT” can be changed, if you care enough. “IT” is your life – and no one is accountable or more in control of your life… than you.

No matter what you think of downsized VPs now spooning foam on your caffeinated drink at Starbucks, groups of people doing silly/creative things on social media to build their personal brand and find work, or – no matter what side of the debate we’re on – movements like Occupy Wall Street, at least we know one thing… They didn’t just sit around, in a passive version of a hissy fit, blaming the economy and their bad fortune on “It is what is is…”

In each one of these examples, there are people doing what they think they have to do to change their personal “it” – or the digital “it” – or the global “it”.

Next time someone around you utters “It is what it is…” please join me in challenging them:

  • Does this mean that you don’t care, don’t want to care, or just aren’t interested helping make a change?
  • If you did care, what would you do – and how could you motivate others – to change “it”?
  • Could you not stand the thought of a moment of silence, and just had to regurgitate those useless, negative, passive words?

No more “It is what it is…” for me.

I care too much. And I want to surround myself with those… who care too much.



About the Author: A passionate supporter of Gen Y talent, CEO and Founder of YouTern Mark Babbitt is a serial entrepreneur and mentor. Mark has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Forbes and Under30CEO regarding internships, higher education’s role in preparing emerging talent for the workforce and career development. Recently, Mark was honored to be named to GenJuice’s list of “Top 100 Most Desirable Mentors”. You can contact Mark via email or on Twitter: @YouTernMark.

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