You can tell how seriously I take this topic if I actually quote that nutjob Tolle.
I am not a big fan of simply saying “it is what it is” mostly because … well … most times it is much much more than that.
Sometimes … it “is” simply because it … is.
And we are unhappy … not because of the situation but rather because of the thought behind it
<please note … I imagine I have just bastardized Tolle’s real thinking … but it fits what I want to say>
I attribute the our true unhappiness behind the thinking of “it is what it is” to one of two things:
I like to think it is called Occam’s razor probably because the thought cuts straight to the truth, but ‘experts’ suggest the term razor refers to distinguishing between two hypotheses either by “shaving away” unnecessary assumptions or cutting apart two similar conclusions.
Sometimes the simplest explanation is all there is. It is what it is.
And we hate not only Occam but his frickin’ razor.
- Illogical pragmatism: Some things just cannot be explained. It sounds illogical … but pragmatically any explanation is illogical. Or just illogically complex. Therefore … there is no explanation. Pragmatically it is just what it is. Illogical as it may sound.
And while we like pragmatism … we hate anything illogical. And we particularly hate if the pragmatic is illogical.
Very few things frustrate us more than when there is no explanation for something.
It drives business people frickin’ crazy.
What do business people hate maybe even worse? That Occam thing.
The simple concise explanation. The understanding that simpler explanations are, other things being equal, generally better than more complex ones … well … is not an idea we really like in business.
Unfortunately … most times we cannot accept the simple and revel in the complex.
We like having things explained to us.
We enjoy having things explained to us.
In fact … it seems like as we get older and more experienced … we come to depend on explanations … to the point that if something doesn’t have an explanation we tend to become stressed out, confused, angry and disappointed <even unbelieving>.
I actually believe we manage this fairly well in everyday life … but really suck at this in business.
“It is what it is” at work?
Or maybe at best … rarely.
Typically even intuition or instinct is definable or has some explanation in some form or fashion in the workplace <note: if it isn’t or cannot be … then someone is more than likely making shit up … uh oh … head the other way – pronto>.
Even in the creative world <I have had some experience here> … their version of ‘it is what it is’ is typically … “I know it when I see it” … or “it just feels right” … and in both cases stand up and point at them for emphasis and say “bullshit.”
<but be prepared to … (a) duck when something is thrown at you or … (b) get fired>
Let’s say maybe 90% or so.
Most things obviously have real definitive explanations and some things have enough of an explanation that they have some edge or tangibleness to them … but it’s the stuff in the middle that requires a more subtle explanation or even an admittance of sheer uncertainty of “why is this as it is.”
That’s 10% or so.
Sometimes things just “are.”
And explanations are too complex … and frankly … unnecessary <albeit frustrating to not have one>.
We should be diligent with regard to inevitable straying into a complacent belief believing that things ‘just are’ and there is nothing you can do <or should do> to change it to make it better or to actually avoid true explanations where they are merited.
And while it frickin’ kills me to suggest “it is what it is” … some things just are, and no matter how much you wish they were different, they’re not.
We have difficulty in trying to understand that there can be some things that fall in the non-explanation category <that wretched ‘middle’> that it is neither in the good nor the bad category <by the way … not being able to explain does not make it inevitably bad>.
We seem too often to have to have an explanation to satisfy us.
And it’s this sense of ‘satisfaction seeking’ that we should be wary of <or maybe it simply leads us astray and we should be wary of getting lost – insert ‘weeds’ here ->.
The unexplained is very unsatisfying.
Someone wrote this:
“The Unexplained” has a somewhat sinister connotation to our adult minds because it puts us on shaky ground. Our reason has nothing to hang on to. When circumstances are not to our liking, we are likely to use phrases like, “I demand an explanation” or “You’ve got some explaining to do!” Of course this has not so much to do with shedding some light on the situation as it has to do with making ourselves feel safer, more secure in the midst of something which has inconvenienced us.
We can even become suspicious, paranoid, fearful and neurotic if our dependence on explanations is too strong and we cannot actually find one.
In my words … it can kind of drive us nuts.
We need to realize that sometimes we put way too much emphasis on trying to figure out what is right and wrong … or even worse … seeking an explanation for something that just ‘is.’
With so much unpredictability and seeming chaos in business <because shit moves so fast> sometimes the explanation really doesn’t matter.
It just is.
It is the way it’s supposed to be.
It is just the way it happened.
All the over analysis, over thinking, over planning, over explaining doesn’t accomplish anything.
While it may make us feel better putting an ultimate <but incredibly convoluted and complex> explanation on something … sometimes it doesn’t accomplish anything <useful>.
In fact all that thinking trying to identify ‘the explanation’ can freeze you to a point where you get stuck over thinking … all in the attempt in trying to rationalize everything.
You can get overwhelmed not by the situation <or the amount of situations> but simply by the lack of explanation.
You can get overwhelmed not by the chaos of complexity but rather by the act of ignoring , or even arguing against, the simple solution.
So much of our stress and anxiety comes from our attempts at finding an explanation … or even a simpler ‘is it good or bad’ definition to the challenge or situation.
We like things to be a certain way <mostly not simple>.
And we like the feeling that things in life should be generally good. And explanations help us define good or bad <or at least help us define blame or resolution or whatever>.
We just like … well … explanations. Simple, complex, any size shape or form … we will take anyone we can get.
The bottom line?
We are reluctant to accept things that cannot be defined or explained.
We stop moving forward when we are paralyzed by analyzing … seeking an explanation <or ignoring the Occam’s Razor explanation>.
Explanations are good … and bad.
Good in that it helps to have some boundaries and guidelines and … well … definition <or Life would just be some nebulous blob … disgusting thought, huh?>.
Bad in that some things are simply undefinable therefore forcing an explanation into a ‘it is what it is’ scenario creates some unfair & untrue conclusions.
Some things are simpler than we make them out to be.
And some things just cannot be rationally explained.
And sometimes it just isn’t worth investing the energy trying to rationalize it.
It is what it is.
And it drives us frickin’ crazy.