There‘s a lot of wisdom in the phraseit is what it is.” It‘s a reminder that we can‘t always control what happens in life, but we can control how we react to itLife can be unpredictable, and things don’t always go as planned. We often hear people say “it is what it is” to express acceptance of a situation that they cannot change. This phrase has become a popular cliché, but it holds a deeper meaning that can help us cope with the ups and downs of life.  There’s a lot of wisdom in the phraseit is what it is.” It‘s a reminder that we can‘t always control what happens in life, but we can control how we react to it. When something bad happens, it‘s easy to get upset and dwell on what could have been. Butit is what it is reminds us to focus on the present and what we can do to make things better.

It is what it is is a reminder to stay positive and to focus on what we can control. It‘s a reminder that everything happens for a reason, and that we can learn and grow from our experiences. It may take time to get there and see the gold that we can reap from the experience. As an example suppose you’re a business owner and you lose a big client. You might feel upset or worried about the impact on your business, but you can’t change the fact that the client left. You might say to yourself or your team, “Well, it is what it is. Let’s focus on finding new clients and improving our services. How can we grow as a team and what can we do better? “

To approach this phrase from a positive psychology perspective, I encourage my clients to adopt a growth mindset and focus on the potential for change and improvement in their lives, rather than simply accepting things as they are. I encourage them to take action towards their goals and to cultivate positive emotions, such as gratitude and optimism, to help them cope with challenges and setbacks. The phrase “it is what it is” is a call to let go of our expectations andto focus on the present moment. This mindset can be incredibly freeing, as it allows us to release the stress and anxiety that comes from trying to control things that are out of our control. For example, if we’re facing a difficult challenge, we might not be able to change the situation, but we can change our response to it. We can choose to stay positive, focus on what we can control, and take steps to move forward. In some ways, “it is what it is” is a mantra for mindfulness. It encourages us to be present in the moment, to let go of our worries and regrets, and to accept the reality of what is happening right now. This mindset can help us find peace and contentment, even in difficult times.

Overall, while acknowledging the importance of acceptance, as a positive psychology practitioner I also like to emphasize the power of taking action and cultivating positive emotions to create a fulfilling and meaningful life.

As a retirement coach I often hear the phrase from  my clients It is What it is. What do they know about life that can be passed on to others?

When people say “It is what it is” as they get older, they are often expressing a sense of acceptance and wisdom gained from life experience. Here are some of the lessons they may have shared with me that can be passed on:

  1. Life is unpredictable and full of surprises. No matter how much we plan or try to control things, there will always be unexpected events and outcomes. Learning to accept this uncertainty and adapt to change is a key to living a fulfilling life.
  2. Time is precious. As we age, we become more aware of how quickly time passes and how important it is to make the most of the time we have. This means prioritizing the things that truly matter to us and not wasting time on things that don’t.
  3. Relationships are essential. People often come to realize that the most important things in life are the relationships we have with others. This includes family, friends, and even strangers. Cultivating meaningful connections with others can bring a great deal of joy and fulfillment to life.
  4. Material possessions are not everything. As people age, they often realize that accumulating material possessions does not necessarily bring happiness or meaning to life. Instead, they may focus on experiences, personal growth, and making a positive impact on others.
  5. Gratitude is important. Finally, people who say “It is what it is” may have learned the value of gratitude. They may be grateful for the good things in their life, even in the face of challenges and adversity. This attitude of gratitude can help to bring a sense of peace and contentment to life.


In conclusion, “it is what it is” is more than just a catchy phrase. It’s a powerful mindset that can help us cope with the uncertainties of life. By accepting reality for what it is, we can find freedom, balance, and peace of mind. So the next time you find yourself in a difficult situation, remember to take a deep breath, let go of your expectations and repeat to yourself, “ it is what it is!”

You might find it interesting to listen to this TedTalk:

“It Is What It Is” – a TEDx talk by motivational speaker Ash Beckham that encourages us to embrace our vulnerabilities and accept ourselves as we are: