BLUF – In decisions, we choose to keep the steady state/ status quo as it is the tenable option.
Until it’s not.
“It is what it is”. How many times have we heard this phrase? Perhaps perceived as stoic acceptance of things beyond our control, often it’s a fatalistic valuation of efforts required to produce change. We often find that when things are referenced with this as their current state, how they came to be or the paths followed to reach the state are unknown. We know what they do, but not why.
The phrase is justification, with the speaker encouraging others to share apathy in knowing or caring beyond the surface, as anything further is futile. Perhaps they tried, perhaps they don’t see value in further pursuit, perhaps they see risks, perhaps their focus is elsewhere. In any and all of these, the speaker’s view is valid – provided acceptance of the status quo in question creates limited harm or tolerable risks. We accept many things under this banner. As individuals, organisations, and demographics.
Until something breaks.
Until the fog lifts.
Until possible is uncovered.
Until the effort is not wasted.
Until less becomes unacceptable.
Until we are willing to accept the risk and responsibilities.
Until what is, is not.
These conditions and the changes to follow by no means should be taken lightly, as what was existed for reasons we may or may not understand. It was known, familiar, comfortable. Whatever comes next may be understood to a point – but the second order effects, the pebble risks, the indirect impacts to the ecosystem can’t be seen. And we must accept this. Our relative guardrails are not protecting the same paths, and whilst we can erect more, they may well serve as impediments until there is insight into where this path goes.
Doubt will surface time and again. Others will question – motives, functions, competency. If lucky, you will have a few others to lean on – at minimum, you will wrestle yourself alone. And its results won’t be quick, so the temptation is to abandon and return to the shelter ‘it is what it is’ provisioned. Your tale will then be cautionary and bolster the next argument against change.
But patience reaps benefits. Paths can be adjusted. Opportunities await.
‘It is what it is’ wasn’t always.
But it will be, until it’s not.