Everything Is Figureoutable Summary
12 min read ⌚
One Simple Belief to Create Unstoppable Success
Think you can’t do something?
Marie Forleo says that you’re just not willing – or that you don’t want to do that something decidedly enough.
Because, in her opinion, there are no real problems, no real obstacles to keep you from achieving your dreams.
In her opinion:
Who Should Read “Everything Is Figureoutable”? And Why?
In the words of Cheryl Strayed, Everything Is Figureoutable is “a must-read for anyone who wants to face their fears, fulfill their dreams, and find a better way forward.”
However, to quote the author herself, if you’re easily offended by strong words and a curse or two here and there, then don’t bother.
About Marie Forleo
Marie Forleo is an American life coach, motivational speaker, web television host and bestselling author.
Dubbed “a thought leader for the next generation” by none other than Oprah Winfrey, Forleo is most famous as the host of MarieTV and the author of another self-help book – Make Every Man Want You.
Find out more at https://www.marieforleo.com/.
Everything is Figureoutable: The Secret of Super Moms
“My mother has the tenacity of a bulldog, looks like June Cleaver, and curses like a truck driver,” writes Marie Forleo in the very first paragraphs of Everything Is Figureoutable. “She grew up the daughter of two alcoholic parents in the projects of Newark, New Jersey. She learned, by necessity, how to stretch a dollar bill around the block and is one of the most resourceful and industrious people you could ever meet.”
And that last part of the paragraph excerpted above is not an exaggeration: Marie’s mom was able to fix the leaky roof and retile the bathroom all by herself, all the while listening to music from her favorite radio (gotten for free from Tropicana Orange Juice).
One day, when Marie came home, there was no sound coming from the radio. Instead, there were clicks and clacks coming from the kitchen. Marie followed the sound and eventually discovered her mother, huddled over the kitchen table, fixing her favorite Tropicana Orange radio.
“It’s fine, Ree. No big deal,” she said to her daughter when Marie asked her if the radio was broken. “The antenna got busted and the tuner dial was a little off, so I’m fixing it.”
Awestruck and mesmerized by her mother “working her magic,” Marie finally uttered the words that had been on her mind for quite some time: “Hey, Mom, how do you know how to do so many different things that you’ve never done before, without anyone showing you how to do it?”
(Remember, these are the 1980s we’re talking about, which means it was a “pre-internet, pre-YouTube, pre-Google world.”)
“Don’t be silly, Ree,” Marie’s mom replied. “Nothing in life is that complicated. You can do whatever you set your mind to if you just roll up your sleeves, get in there, and do it. Everything is figureoutable.”
Choose to Be Someone Else: The Magic of Belief
The last three words quoted above took root in Marie’s soul.
Ever since her mother uttered them for the first time, they have been the most powerful driving force in her life.
No wonder they form the very title of her second book!
The subtitle, in addition, describes Marie’s opinion about their power better than we’ll ever be able to: “one simple belief to create unstoppable success.”
The emphasis here should be on belief. And why, you ask?
Because, in Marie’s opinion, that’s where everything starts. “Beliefs,” she writes poetically, “are the hidden scripts that run our lives. Like a track running underneath a train, our beliefs determine where we go and how we get there.”
You see, humans are exceptional in that we have been given the gift of thinking. When Ralph Waldo Emerson writes that “the ancestor of every action is a thought,” he’s not being metaphorical as you might think.
And that’s because virtually everything you can see around you—from your clothes and your books to your phone and your house—was once only a thought, an idea, “a wild, formless figment of someone’s imagination.”
But that’s where the process of creation starts, which many people would simplify to these four steps:
Thought → Feeling → Behavior → Result
Marie Forleo, however, thinks that we should add another step before these four. She writes:
Beneath our thoughts… lies an even deeper force that directs and controls our lives. It’s a critical component of the creative process, both individually and collectively. In fact, this force shapes our thoughts and feelings. It dictates every aspect of our behavior: how much we sleep, what we choose to eat, what we say to ourselves and others, if and how much we exercise, and what we do with our time and energy. It helps birth our self-worth and our net worth. It impacts our health and fuels our feelings. It determines the quality of our relationships and, ultimately, whether we lead a life of joy, accomplishment, and contribution or one of misery, pain, and regret.
This force that “underpins every action we take and how we interpret and respond to the world around us” is, of course, our beliefs, which Forleo defines as the things you know “with total and absolute certainty… the root of our reality and our results.”
So, that creation formula above should really look something like this:
Beliefs → Thought → Feeling → Behavior → Result
Get that: right beliefs bring great thoughts and feelings which affect our behavior and results in the wished-for outcomes.
Wrong beliefs, on the other hand…
The Problem with Our Beliefs, aka Eliminating Excuses
Well, we don’t even need to complete the sentence above, do we?
Forleo suggests that the problem with our beliefs is enormous and threefold:
#1. They are often instinctively created, and while we’re not paying attention (through the power of the 5 Es: environment, experience, evidence, examples, and envisioning);
#2. They are frequently self-limiting (because protecting yourself is much more important than risking it to become more than you are);
#3. They are self-perpetuating (in that, if you don’t think you can do something, you’ll never try doing it, so the belief that you can’t do it will remain unchanged).
So, in other words, unless you test out your beliefs, you’ll never change them. More importantly – and this is the point Forleo is trying to make – untested beliefs are merely superstitions and excuses. In other words, your choices.
And choices can be changed.
Choosing to believe that “everything is figureoutable” means choosing to believe that there is a solution to every problem. It means realizing that all of your “can’ts” are actually “won’ts,” and that you are 100 percent responsible for your life. Finally, it means making an effort to overcome your perceived limitations as opposed to embracing them in the form of excuses.
Because, really, once you think about it, all of your self-limiting beliefs are merely excuses:
#1. “I don’t have the time…”
Of all the excuses, this is perhaps the most common. In reality, it doesn’t hold water because you have plenty of time – you’re just not using it right.
“If it’s important enough, I’ll make the time,” Forleo writes. “If not, I’ll make an excuse.”
Think of it this way: if your doctor told you today that you are going to die in two years or so, would you be able to find enough time for your friends and your passion projects?
Of course you would!
Because you’re spending quite a few hours on social media on a daily basis, you’re answering emails even in your sleep, you’re binge-watching Netflix shows constantly (yup, even the ones you don’t really care about that much), etc. etc.
As irresistible as modern technology is, it shouldn’t be that difficult to use Facebook a bit less or watch one Netflix episode less than you would in a single day.
That already amounts to about an hour in a day or 45 full 8-hour workdays in a year, which Forleo translates into at least a draft of your book or a career change! And even with half of that – so, just 30 minutes a day – you get 22 full 8-hour workdays in a year or just about enough to learn how to meditate, build a brand-new website, or exercise your arms to a Michelle-Obama-like perfection.
You don’t have the time?
Oh, no: you are not making the effort to make the time!
#2. “I don’t have the money…”
More often than not, you don’t even need the money!
There are so many free resources on the Internet that really, you’ll find just about enough videos on YouTube only to learn any kind of new skill – not to mention all the MOOCs and free university courses available out there!
But, let’s say that you do need money for your business venture.
Once again, there are a host of ways to get the financing you need – you just need to be determined, creative, and relentless enough to endure.
Forleo’s has five suggestions to spark your imagination and only one of them doesn’t start with “S”:
- Side jobs
- Spend less
- Sell stuff
- Scholarships and grants
#3. “I don’t know how/I don’t know where to start.”
This is the flimsiest excuse of them all and Forleo doesn’t waste too many words to refute it.
“We live in the most unprecedented time in human history,” she writes.
With the ever-growing miracle known as the internet, you can learn the fundamentals of virtually any topic or skill within minutes, often 100 percent free of charge and in the privacy of your own home… No matter what it is that you want to learn, your answer likely already exists. It’s already been explained in a book, online, or in some form of media. Or it can be learned directly from another person through a class, tutoring, mentorship, apprenticeship, etc. Or you might arrive at an aha moment through meditation, prayer, journaling, or even a spontaneous insight in the shower… The art of eliminating excuses means embracing the fact that your dreams aren’t made or broken by anyone but you.
“There are two kinds of people in the world,” concludes Forleo, “those with reasons and those with results.”
Which one of the two do you choose to be?
How to Deal with the Fear of Anything
OK, enough about the excuses! What about our fears?
Well, first of all, it is important to note that everyone is afraid, from newbies to icons, from writers, performers and athletes to entrepreneurs, soldiers and scientists. (Not to mention parents.)
However, as French author André Gide wrote once, “there are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them.” In other words, the more you understand something, the less you’ll fear it.
And this is what does the trick!
According to Marie Forleo, the difference between successful people and you is not the type or the degree of your fears, but the way you interpret them.
For example, when Bruce Springsteen goes on stage – and this happens every time – his heart beats a little faster, his hands sweat a little, and his legs go numb as if he’s getting pins and needles. However, he doesn’t think of these feelings as fear – the symptoms of which are the same – but as “excitement.”
“Fascinating, right?” quips Forleo. “Springsteen interprets those body sensations as a sign of readiness, not a sign that he’s afraid, anxious, or incompetent. He’s chosen to believe that the vibrations and sensations in his physical vessel are telling him he’s prepared to give his fans a legendary performance. He’s chosen an interpretation that serves him.”
Shannon L. Adler says that most misunderstandings in the world could be avoided if people would simply take the time to ask, “What else could this mean?” Well, Forleo thinks that most failures and millions of unfulfilled hearts can be avoided in much the same manner.
Because, in one way or another, what you fear the most is often what you want to do more than anything. “Nine times out of ten,” Marie writes, “our fear is directive. It’s a signpost, pointing us in the exact direction our soul wants to go.”
You’re crippled by fear that your book won’t be good enough so you haven’t started writing it?
You’re, in fact, told, and in no uncertain terms, by your very own body that you must put something on paper and you must do this fast.
The moment you will, the amazing feeling of relief that will overcome your body will tell you that you’ve been postponing the wrong thing all this time.
Fear is your soul’s GPS.
And never forget: no matter what happens on your journey, everything is figureoutable.
Key Lessons from “Everything Is Figureoutable”
1. Impossible Is Only What You Believe Is
2. Your Road Map to Results
3. The World Needs Your Special Gift
Impossible Is Only What You Believe Is
“What is now proved,” wrote William Blake in his Proverbs from Hell a few centuries ago, “was once only imagined.”
Marie Forleo goes a step further: and what was once imagined, she adds by implication, was a product of that person’s beliefs.
In other words, if one doesn’t believe that something is possible, one would never be able to picture it clearly, let alone proceed to the realization of that idea.
Just think of what Elon Musk is doing right now, while you’re reading this summary: he’s building rockets that should take humanity to Mars in some not so distant future. Would he have even started doing that if he didn’t believe it was possible?
Of course not.
And this is where Forleo’s philosophy of life is rooted in. She firmly believes that your life will start getting better the very minute you stop believing that “achieving your dreams are impossible” and start using her mother’s mantra: “everything is figureoutable.”
Your Road Map to Results
Marie Forleo’s philosophy of life can be further described in a few actionable bits of advice – some of which she uses to introduce her book to her readers. Let’s try to adapt them in an even more meaningful manner:
#1. Train your brain for growth
Instead of thinking things like “I know this already” or “This won’t work for me” – Forleo calls these two sentences “destructive thought viruses” – start constantly asking yourself questions such as “What can I learn from this?” and “How can this work for me?”
#2. Try it before you deny it
Unfortunately, most of our beliefs are not only self-limiting but also quite unchangeable.
Because they are not tested.
That’s why you need to try doing things before denying that you can do them.
The everything-is-figureoutable philosophy of life is based on three rules of play:
Rule 1. All problems (or dreams) are figureoutable.
Rule 2. If a problem is not figureoutable, it’s not really a problem—it’s a fact of life or law of nature (e.g., death or gravity).
Rule 3. You may not care enough to figure this problem out or achieve this particular dream. That’s okay. Find another problem or dream that ignites a blazing fire in your heart and go back to Rule 1.
#3. Eliminate excuses and do the work
You know what that old adage implies: the uncommitted look for excuses; the ones who really want to achieve something – look for a solution.
Or as Forleo says, “there are two kinds of people in the world: those with reasons and those with results.”
The truth is that your can’ts are actually won’ts because if you want to do something, you’ll find a way to do it.
#4. Fear is not your enemy
On the contrary, fear is your soul’s GPS.
What you fear the most – quitting your job, starting that book, investing in that new startup – is probably what you want to do more than anything.
Reinterpret your fears and follow them: they’ll lead you in the right direction.
#5. Start before you’re ready and strive for progress, not perfection
Most people plan too much and do too little.
The problem is that they want to have all figured out in advance.
That’s not the right attitude!
When you can, be a “doer,” not a “thinker.” Overcome your indecisiveness by making the first step. Clarity will come afterward, as you make your progress.
Speaking of which, progress puts you in a productive mindset and that’s the only thing you should strive for. Always tend to ask “what’s my next move?” and not “what will others think of this when I’m finished?”
The World Needs Your Special Gift
Finally, and most importantly, never forget that you are a unique human being with unique qualities and the capabilities to make unique contributions to this world.
You have so much to offer. Overcome the impostor syndrome you’re feeling by talking about it with others and by doing the things that make you happy regardless of other people’s opinions.
If you’re not doing that, if you’re crippled by fear and you’re still making up excuses, you’re actually stealing from the people you love the most by not making the contribution only you can make.
Repeat as if a mantra the words Marie Forleo repeats at the end of every MarieTV episode:
The world needs that special gift that only you have.
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“Everything Is Figureoutable Quotes”I win or I learn, but I never lose. Click To Tweet Nothing in life is that complicated. You can do whatever you set your mind to if you just roll up your sleeves, get in there, and do it. Everything is figureoutable. Click To Tweet As basic as it seems, most people still don’t write down what’s most important to them. Click To Tweet Fear is not the enemy. Waiting to stop feeling afraid is. Click To Tweet Clarity comes from engagement, not thought. Click To Tweet
Our Critical Review
Described as “a dazzling manifesto on self-belief and self-empowerment” by Steven Pressfield, Everything is Figureoutable is, to use the words of retired American soccer player and two-time Olympic medalist, Abby Wambach, “hilarious, relatable, and actionable.”
Endorsed by everybody from Elizabeth Gilbert to Simon Sinek, from Brené Brown to Seth Godin, Marie Forleo’s book is really a powerful guide through excuses and fears to success and fulfillment – but it only makes sense if its bits of advice are implemented.
So, don’t just read it – use it!
Learn more and more, in the speed that the world demands.