Everything is Figureoutable (2019) is more than a mantra, it’s a collection of practical insights and actionable discipline that’s woven together to serve as an effective life philosophy. The ‘figureoutable philosophy’ aims to inspire readers to adopt the fundamental mindsets and habits to figure anything out!
The author, Marie Forleo, is the host of the award-winning show MarieTV as well as The Marie Forleo Podcast. Labeled as a thought leader for the next generation by Oprah, Forleo teaches artists, entrepreneurs, and people from all walks of life on how to dream big and achieve their goals.
Read this book summary in 10 Minutes
Everything is Figureoutable
. . .
- Train Your Mind for Growth:
Shift from: “This won’t work for me” to: “How can this work for me?”
- The Magic of Beliefs:
Your beliefs shape your destiny; be mindful of what you’re thinking.
- Eliminate Excuses:
“If it’s important enough, I’ll make the time. If not, I’ll make an excuse.”
- Dealing with Fear:
“Fear is not the enemy, waiting to stop feeling afraid is.”
- Start Before You’re Ready:
… Develop a bias towards action; action spawns courage.
- Progress, Not Perfection
“Progress not perfection is the only way to bridge the gap between your ability and your ambition.”
- Refuse to Be Refused
… persistance in the face of resistance.
- The World Needs Your Special Gift
“Go beyond yourself. Think in terms of we, not me.”
. . .
Everything is Figureoutable Summary
Your Road Map To Results
The author explains that there are two destructive thought viruses that stop us from learning something new. The first being: “I know this already.”
She writes: “Whenever we feel like we already know something, our minds disengage and shut down. The next time you hear yourself thinking or saying, ‘I know this already,’ especially as you read this book, immediately catch that thought and switch to a growth-minded question. Ask yourself, ‘What can I learn from this?’ ”
The other thought virus: ‘This won’t work for me.’ This statement shuts down the possibility of any learning. Therefore, Forleo advises that whenever you catch yourself saying something along those lines, change it to a more productive question such as ‘How can this work for me?’
The Magic of Belief
“Everything in the material world is first created on the level of thought,” writes Forleo. In other words, nothing comes to fruition without first manifesting itself first in our mind, as a thought.
However, there’s a deeper force that shapes our thoughts and thereby our feelings and behaviors. It’s a critical component of the creative process, dictating aspects of our behavior such as how much we sleep, what we choose to eat, what we tell ourselves and so forth. It is our beliefs.
More on beliefs:
- “Long term, your beliefs determine your destiny.”
- “Our beliefs either propel us to or prevent us from living to our fullest potential. Our beliefs determine whether we fail or succeed, and how we define success in the first place.”
- “Our brains tend to reinforce what we already believe. This well-documented phenomenon is called confirmation bias. Simply put, confirmation bias means we look for and find evidence to support our beliefs.”
Moreover, Forleo writes: “All beliefs are a choice and choices can be changed.”
We can change our beliefs. There is work involved but it is possible and well worth the effort. Forleo explains how…
“The first step to becoming free from your beliefs is noticing which ones are creating hurt or misery for you. Practice becoming aware of what you’re thinking (i.e. believing) and know that at any moment, you get to decide if you want to continue believing that thought.”
“You take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame.” -Erica Jong
When it comes to making excuses, there are 2 four-letter words that according to the author, blur our ability to be honest with ourselves. They are ‘cant’ and ‘won’t.’ Think about the excuses that we tend to make habitually when we say to ourselves things like… ‘I can’t do the work’ or ‘I can’t take that risk!’
“Here’s the problem,” Forleo writes, “99 percent of the time when we say we can’t do something, can’t is a euphemism for won’t.” To put it this way, when we say we can’t, what we really mean is that we don’t have the desire to make the sacrifice or to put in the effort.
According to Forleo, replacing can’t with a won’t, allows you to get a more honest perspective, as she clarifies:
“When you use the word ‘won’t,’ you feel and behave more powerfully. You remember that you’re in charge of your thoughts and actions. YOU get to determine how to spend your time and resources. You’ll feel more alive and energized and free because you’re taking full responsibility for the state of your life.”
She further adds: “Excuses are dream killers. If we allow them, our excuses will keep us locked in a prison of our own making. As the adage goes, if you argue for your limitations, you get to keep them.” [p60; Marie Forleo, Everything is Figureoutable]
How to Deal with the Fear of Anything
Forleo tells us that fear ought to be understood. According to her, it is “the F-word that you need to embrace.”
She writes: “Fear is not the enemy, waiting to stop feeling afraid is.”
“It doesn’t matter how much experience, success, or fame you acquire. You will always feel fear. Don’t get seduced into thinking some magical day will arrive when you no longer feel afraid and only then will you be ready to act. That’s not how it works. Action is the antidote to fear. Action metabolizes it. The trick is allowing yourself to feel fear while you take action.”
To make that call, even if your stomach knots, to speak up, even if your voice shakes… to raise your rates, even if it makes you want to hurl! Doing the thing is actually much easier than the suffering we inflict upon ourselves by stressing over it in our minds and remaining in stasis. The fastest way out of fear is through it.
One reason why fear can be so debilitating is because most of the time we don’t really slow down enough to thoroughly question what exactly it is that we’re afraid of. As Stephen King once said: “If a fear cannot be articulated, it can’t be conquered.”
Forleo encourages the reader to try the exercise that she calls Fear Taming 101.
She explains: “Write down the absolute worst thing that could possibly happen and what that would mean to you—mentally, emotionally, and financially. Is it a matter of losing money? Shattering an ego or reputation? Could you lose your job or business? Disappoint family or loved ones? Then ask yourself, “Okay. Now, what’s the worst thing possible if that happened?” Keep going until you get to the absolute worst thing you can possibly imagine. Then, write the exact steps you could take to get back on your feet.” [p92; Marie Forleo, Everything is Figureoutable summary ]
Define Your Dream
Forleo writes: “I never took a Dream Clarity Class, did you? Most of us have little-to-no instruction on how to figure out what we really want,” She stresses the importance of being able to clearly define your goals and having a vision for your future.
Not having something clear or meaningful to work towards can spawn a host of other problems such as: facing difficulty in prioritizing and scheduling your time, feeling lost, and not being able to produce tangible results despite being ‘super busy i.e. when you confuse activity with accomplishment.
“The work can be tough,” Forleo points out, but “the more difficult it is, the more you need it.” She emphasizes the importance of articulating a vision:
“At this stage, all you need is an initial destination—something meaningful that challenges you to learn and grow. You don’t need an epic world-changing goal, especially if that feels overwhelming. You also don’t need to know how you’ll make this dream happen. You just need a clear mark, because you can’t hit a target you can’t see.”
What’s more intriguing is that once you’ve established your goals, your brain automatically helps you figure out how to get it. It does this through what Forleo describes as the ‘magical neurological genie,’ better known as the Reticular Activating System (RAS).
The Reticular Activating System is a fancy word that describes the bundle of nerves located within our brain which filters out unnecessary information so that only the important data gets through. Your RAS is the reason why you can tune out the constant background hum of a noisy café but instantly snap if you hear someone call out your name, or when you learn a new word and begin to hear it ‘everywhere.’
Forleo clarifies: “The act of clearly defining your dream will tell your brain that this thing is now valuable and should take priority. You’ll recruit your RAS to help you bring this dream to life. Your RAS will begin scanning your environment for any and all opportunities, people, and information related to what you’ve declared a significant goal. It’ll begin processing, culling ideas, and directing you to pay attention to solutions you need, whether you’re fully aware of it or not.”
Start Before You’re Ready
In this chapter of the book ‘Everything is Figureoutable,’ readers are introduced to the powerful idea of embracing your growth zone…
Forleo explains: “The growth zone is a magical, albeit scary-ass place. But it was the only place I could learn how to be a boss, how to delegate, and how to grow my business beyond myself. Entering the growth zone meant things would be uncertain. I’d feel uncomfortable. I would also likely fall flat on my face. A lot.”
She further adds:
In the comfort zone, which is where most of us spend way too much time, life feels safe. But everything you dream of becoming, achieving, or figuring out exists in the growth zone (aka the discomfort zone). When you’re in the growth zone, here’s what’s guaranteed: you will feel vulnerable and insecure, but in order to grow, you must let go (at least temporarily) of your need for comfort and security. You must train yourself to value growth and learning above all else.” [p147; Marie Forleo, Everything is Figureoutable]
Progress Not Perfection
“Real change is practically invisible as it’s happening. No trumpets sound. A marching band will not play at your door. Meaningful progress doesn’t feel particularly exciting. Most days, it feels like work. You show up, grind it out (sometimes joyfully, sometimes not), and repeat.”
“Perfectionism isn’t a set behavior,” writes Forleo, “it’s a destructive way of thinking about yourself. When you make a mistake (or, heaven forbid, fail), you don’t just feel disappointed in how you did, but in who you are.”
She encourages readers to take small consistent steps towards their goals, instead of procrastinating on whether or not it’s the right step. Also, she points out that the path of progression as not linear, but wavering….
Forleo writes: “…progress is never a straight line. Progress zigs and zags. It expands, then retreats. You will move forward and then back. Up and down. Then sideways and back again. To fight the erratic rhythm of progress is futile. Expect setbacks, stumbles, and big flops along the way. They’re inevitable, and they’re also positive indicators you’re making progress.”
Refuse to Be Refused
Sometimes, to figure things out requires that you simply refuse to accept ‘No’ for an answer. Just because your parents or your co-worker or friend tells you “No you can’t” or “That’s not possible” or “No, that ain’t how it’s done around here,” does not mean that you need to agree with their version of reality. The idea is to ‘be persistent in the face of resistance.’
To be able to persevere no matter the obstacles, your goals need to be tied to something beyond yourself. That is the ultimate secret behind refusing to be refused.
As the author, Marie Forleo clarifies:
Striving to be your best is one thing, but when you do your best for the betterment of others, you’ll be virtually unstoppable. A bigger, more expansive purpose beyond our own personal gain is what gives our lives meaning. Purpose fuels persistence. Motives matter. The measure of our lives is not determined by what we achieve for ourselves; it’s determined by what we share, give, and contribute to others. When your dreams are connected to a sense of contribution beyond yourself—a family member, your coworkers, or a community or cause you deeply believe in—you’ll unlock wellsprings of strength, stamina, and courage you never knew you had.” [p199; Marie Forleo, Everything is Figureoutable]
The World Needs Your Special Gift
“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium, and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.” -Martha Graham
Forleo concludes: “The world really does need you. It needs your boldest, bravest, most honest and loving expression, and it needs it now. If you haven’t noticed, the human race is yearning for change. You can feel it in the air. In our schools, our homes, our businesses, our sports arenas, and throughout every facet of society, people are waiting for someone to stand up and show them the way. For someone to lead with heart and with the highest vision of what we’re capable of.
I believe you are that someone. I believe you are someone who can awaken a new possibility in your circle of influence, in your family, in your community, and in the world at large. I believe you have what it takes to figure anything out.” [p215; Marie Forleo, Everything is Figureoutable]