This is not one of my favorite lines. It tends to shut down conversation. It sounds fatalistic. Perhaps something Eeyore (of Winnie the Pooh fame) would say.
What is "it"? Is "it" a fact? Is "it" a belief?
If "it" is a fact... a verifiable, documentable, recordable, visible morsel of agreed upon data.. then yes, "it" is what it is. The facts are the facts.
My brother turned 60 yesterday and he said "it is what it is" and for perhaps the first time I agreed with that statement. Yes. The calendar and the clock are what they are.
If "it" is a belief, then all bets are off. Because "it" then isn't what "it" is... "it" is what I believe "it" to be.
We all should. Because when we allow beliefs to become facts... like when the boss says "It's true because I said it is true."... then we put ourselves under the control of whoever has the most power in the room, the loudest voice, or the biggest weapons.
I've gotten into the habit of listening to the news and inserting these words into just about every statement made, like this:
What they say: "The economy might tank in the next 60 days."
What I hear: "Our belief is the economy might tank in the next 60 days."
When I can hear someone's statement as their belief, I can then say to myself, "How interesting that they have that belief!" And then, ask myself the question, "What is it I believe?" which moves me to a more mature posture of curiosity and alignment.
Just another day at the office...