Monday, January 23, 2006
"It Is What It Is"
Another “interesting thing” about me that I would like to add to the list below is that I am the singular human being that coined the phrase “it is what it is”.
Now the phrase has become so popular that you probably think I’m crazy. That may be true, but hear me out.
As I was negotiating a deal for a project in 2000 contract talks sort of stalled. All of the participants from my side came to me and questioned our tactics to no end. It was always we should do this or we should have done that. Rock, why are we here right now?
“It is what it is”
“What does that mean?”
“I said, it is what it is”.
And the point to all of these folks was that a certain situation or development can’t be ordinarily explained one way or another. Ok, the client is ill-informed. Their people do not understand what is really going on here. They are afraid. We are the big private company. It is an unknown. This is perfectly natural.
It is what it is.
And that means deal with it. Life and business is not simple – while everyone wants to adapt various equations to how things work, life is not science and neither is business. Sometimes you just have to have perseverance and/or an angle that ultimately works. But usually it just involves time and outlasting the other option. There is no single magic bullet. It is frankly just hard work and doing the best that you can. And if that can meet what the other party wants, you win – or live to play another day.
These same guys I worked this deal with swear to a man that they learned a lot from my “ism’s” for this project – another one was “keep working the deal” – the deal will never end unless you give up – anytime I speak to them now this always come up on how we won two marquis projects in the same year against much stellar opposition – because, frankly, we just “kept working the deal” and they now understand “it is what it is”. Seriously. And they are grown-ups.
Now I hear the phrase all of the friggin’ time:
Steve Smith, WR – Carolina Panthers – “Why did you get smoked by the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship game?’
“It is what is is”
Kobe Bryant – Guard, LA Lakers, and accused rapist, – how did you score 81 points in one game?
“It is what it is”
Wha? Where are my props bro? And exactly how much did you pay off that poor chick in D-town?
To me, “it is what it is” is a mild form of “Be the Ball” from Chevy Chases’ character in Caddyshack. “ Danny, ….be the ball, Danny.” That is more of a directive in what to do in a situation as opposed to a state of nature – but it implies a situation that may not be very manageable – “Be the Ball”. Be what gets it done. Because, if it is that type of situation…
….it is what it is.