Salma Hayek told Oprah a story: When she was 10, there was a neighborhood flasher. This man accosted her and exposed his full frontal nudity. “I was terrified, just so scared…” She went home and told her grandmother who then gave this advice (Hayek offered a disclaimer – she is by no means telling little girls they ought to do this) BUT…
“The next time that man flashes you – even if you are terrified and alone – LAUGH at him. Point at his groin and LAUGH.”
The man DID flash her again. And little Salma stopped. She felt her entire body tighten with fear. But she remembered her grandmother’s advice. So she stared, pointed at his groin and laughed.
“He ran away, he cowered and ran away!” Hayek says, still incredulous.
Student Council member: “We didn’t get out Student Council t-shirts in time for Club Picture Day?”
Me: “No, they haven’t arrived.”
StuCo member: “Wow. That’s a problem. That’s a real issue.”
Me: “No, it’s not. We’ll get them when we get them. We will take our pictures wearing what we’re wearing and smile. It is what it is.”
At first blush, this sounds like a negative and cold response. But diving deeper, you can see that “It is what it is” is actually a great way to deflect negativity. Why stew about something that we cannot help? Why feel bad and see “no t-shirts” as a problem? There is no solution except to accept it, happily.
This doesn’t apply to areas where there might be a solution of course. I am a proponent of seeking creative solutions to any and all problems. But in cases where there is nothing to be done, why fret?