Marie Forleo’s mother was a woman of many talents and knowledge. With money being tight, she had little money to replace items around the home or hire a repairman. So, she learned how to fix everything. Marie witnessed her mother do this for years always wondering how her mother was able to know so much. When her mother explained to Marie that “eve-rything is figureoutable” Marie lived by this phrase and even built a career around it.
Three little words. Three little words that contain immeasurable power and can incite change. She wants you to realize the power this phrase can have on your life too. Once you real-ize that everything is figureoutable, you will never encounter a problem that you can’t overcome. Marie shares her story to teach you that you have the ability to accomplish your dreams and are deserving of success. So, continue reading to discover an inspiring story of one woman’s journey to success based on just three little words.
Chapter 1: The Lessons from a Tropicana Orange
“The obvious is that which is never seen until someone expresses it simply.” -Kahlil Gibran
Marie Forleo watched her mother at a young age consistently fixing everything around the house. She was frugal to a fault and believed that she could accomplish everything that nee-ded to be done. It was because of this belief that her mother saved enough proofs of purchase to receive a free transistor radio from Tropicana Orange, and yes, it was in the shape of an orange. She loved that radio, it was her favorite thing in the world, but it was because of this Tropicana Orange radio that Marie began to believe that anything was “figureoutable.”
It’s true. Reality can be a pain. We deal with the loss of loved ones, illnesses, break-ups, losing jobs, we all struggle and go with hardships. But we get through those hard times whether we want to admit it or not, those situations are all figureoutable.
“No matter what you’re facing, you have what it takes to figure anything out and be-come the person you’re meant to be.”
The road to figuring out the person you’re meant to be is rarely an easy one. It will take lots of hard work, growth, and self-doubt but if you stick with it, you can use the ideas in this book to accomplish your goals. Yes, this is a self-help book that can teach you everything you need to know, but it will be up to you to decide what you are going to do with the information.
The possibilities of change are endless, whether it’s saving a relationship, becoming less stressed, or building a company, whatever change you wish to make in your life is up to you to make. The philosophy of “everything is figureoutable” isn’t meant to ignore the hardships of life, instead, it’s about teaching you how to tackle those hardships and use your fear of the unknown to guide you to your goals.
Chapter 2: Changing Your Mindset
“You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.” -Shirley Chisholm
Just like learning most new skills in life, it won’t be easy. Whether it’s jumping on a scooter in Italy, building a business, or taking a dance class, learning something new not only takes patience but takes a change in mindset as well. You can accomplish the same mindset by applying the philosophy that everything is figureoutable, but this requires self-exploration, hu-mor, and patience. But, there’s a road map to help get you there.
Train your brain for growth. Imagine your brain is like computer software. You click on one email and allow a flood of viruses to fill your computer. Your brain is similar, but with virus-es of negative thoughts. You may begin thinking that you can’t. You’re scared and you don’t know if you can accomplish your goals. These are viruses of doubt, fear, and confusion, and once you allow one to enter your mind, you start a vicious cycle of negative thoughts. This is normal. But it’s important to be aware of these viruses and destructive thoughts.
Destructive thoughts like “I know this already” and “This won’t work for me” are in-evitable thoughts that many people experience. However, it’s important to be open-minded. Maybe you already know something, but there’s more to learn about it? You’ll never know if you immediately disregard opening yourself up to learn more. Additionally, you need to train your brain to think “how” this could work for you. You’re capable, you can change your life, but train-ing your brain to think about “how” this could work is imperative.
Imagine if Leymah Gbowee thought that she couldn’t change the world. What if she al-lowed the destructive viruses in her head to control her actions? A war may have never ended if Leyhmah hadn’t believed in herself and her cause. Training your brain for growth can most cer-tainly change the world.
Leymah was from Monrovia, Liberia in 1972, she wanted to be a doctor around the time the civil war hit and she and her family became refugees. Now a mother and the victim of abuse by soldiers, Leymah knew she had to make a change for peace. In 2003 she helped organize the Liberian Mass Action for Peace where thousands of women marched wearing shirts with “We demand peace.” Never taken seriously, she was stubborn and consistent and eventually, they stormed the hotel where the peace delegates were and formed a human wall, refusing to let them out until peace was made. Threatening to curse the men by removing her clothing, she was suc-cessful in restoring peace and ending the war and went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts in Africa.
While Leymah’s story is extreme, you can apply the same philosophies to your own life. It all started with a small step. A small step to make a change, from recognizing a need for change to organizing a march and then a “sit-in,” Leymah didn’t allow negative thoughts to plague her mind. But, if you still need convincing, continue reading about the magic of belief.
Chapter 3: The Magic of Belief
Alice: This is impossible The Mad Hatter: Only if you believe it is. -Alice in Wonderland (2010 film)
The magic of belief may sound like a philosophy straight out of Alice in Wonderland, but there’s proof that believing in yourself is one of the first steps to changing your life and is crucial to adopting an “everything is figureoutable” philosophy.
In her early twenties, Marie had graduated from college and was working a respectable job at the New York Stock Exchange. With a great salary, and insurance (something not offered when out on your own), she looked like she had it all, but still, she felt like a failure. Something wasn’t right. She eventually found herself in a church asking God to reveal a backup plan. “Is there something else out there? How do I just leave my cushy job without a backup plan?”
After trying out many different careers like publishing, editing, etc. she stumbled upon a new profession called ‘coaching,’ focusing on helping people set and achieve goals. About build-ing a future. This was it. This was exactly what she had been looking for. But who would listen to a 23-year-old give life advice? But, she believed in herself and pushed her doubts aside. She started a three-year program, studying at night and editing during the day. She even turned down a promotion from Vogue magazine and quit her editing job to begin to build a business while waiting tables and bartending to pay the bills. Two decades later, it’s safe to say that she made the right decision.
“Beliefs are the hidden scripts that run our lives.” Nothing exists in our world that does not first exist in our minds. Our universal gift, the power to bring imagination to reality. Sepa-rates us from animals and nature, we are born creators with the ability to shape and transform our world.
Ever wonder how Buddhist monks are able to transcend pain? Part of their practice is believing that life is about suffering, but they can transcend that suffering and eventually achieve a cessation of the suffering allowing them to experience nirvana. Jerome Goodman, author of Anatomy of Hope wrote how researchers are finding that the mindset has tremendous power over neurochemistry and that even pain can be blocked out with a strong enough belief that en-dorphins get released in the process. Our brains can be tricked, and beliefs are the core of every-thing. They shape everything we are, everything we can do and everything we represent.
“Long term, your beliefs determine your destiny.”
Our beliefs have the power to change the way we live but can be detrimental as well. If you believe you’ll never be good enough, then guess what? You’ll never be good enough. Take the famous story of Thomas Edison’s mother who, with tears in her eyes, relayed a note to Thomas telling her that he was far, far too intelligent when in actuality the note said that he was far, far too stupid. Children rely on adults to give them a starter set of beliefs. If we tell them they can’t do something, they’ll carry that belief with them long into the future.
The most powerful words in the universe are the words you say to yourself. Repetition is the key to habit-forming. If you say it enough times every single day, it’ll eventually become a solid foundational belief you rely on. Everything. Is. Figureoutable. This simple phrase, if re-peated enough times, will eventually become the cornerstone of your reality. You’ll be amazed at what it can do for you.
Chapter 4: Eliminate Excuses
“The worst lies are the lies we tell ourselves” -Richard Bach “Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Only assholes do that.” -Haruki Murakami
How many times do you set an alarm a few hours earlier with plans to get up early, enjoy a nice cup of coffee, maybe get in a workout, but end up hitting snooze until the last possible mi-nute? But what about when you’re actually looking forward to something? You wake up early with no problem and sit around and wonder if you should just head out now and get an early start. How come it’s so effortless at times when other times it’s so difficult? The answers lie wit-hin. Yes. Within. We already have the answers. Our own minds are our biggest roadblocks. How many excuses do you make for not going to the gym or not applying for that dream job? “I can’t do this” is one of the biggest hindrances of success and can put us into a negative spiral that keeps us from doing the thing. When we say “can’t” we really mean “won’t,” as we don’t want to. Changing your mindset from “can’t” to “won’t” forces us to take responsibility for our decision to not do something.
While there may be some extenuating factors that may make your situation more diffi-cult, the end result is always a direct response to your own actions. Malala Yousafzai is a young woman from the Middle East fighting for women’s rights. When she was just fifteen the Taliban attempted to assassinate her to silence her. She was shot in the head and survived to continue fighting. We can learn a lot from Malala’s story. We may encounter trauma and obstacles that seem insurmountable, but what matters most is that we keep trying.
One of Marie’s biggest accomplishments was when she had to go on a retreat in South America. She thought it was impossible, she could never afford it. But, she didn’t let her thoughts influence her actions. Instead, she successfully negotiated with the organizers to allow a payment plan, she went on that trip and ended up meeting the love of her life on that retreat. Had she allowed her excuses to control her actions, she would have never gone on that trip. There’s always something or someone to blame when things don’t go our way, but you are in control of your life. Don’t allow yourself to make excuses.
One of the biggest excuses is not having enough time. We’re all crazy busy navigating life with family, friends, jobs, it seems as if we never have time to get everything done. But, we all have the same number of hours in a day, it’s just up to you to decide how you use them. Take responsibility for your time and then use it wisely.
The second excuse is that you don’t have enough money. Today there are so many oppor-tunities to earn more money. From working for apps like Uber, Postmates, and dog-walking ser-vices, there’s plenty of opportunities for a side hustle. If a second job doesn’t work, then sell some items. eBay and Facebook Marketplace are great places to list belongings that you can earn money from.
The final excuse is not knowing where to start. We live in a digital age! There are so many resources online to learn something new. Need to change the oil in your car? YouTube shows you how! Obviously, changing your life won’t start with changing your oil, but you get the idea. You can learn anything through the power of the internet.
There are countless excuses you can come up with to not get something accomplished. But if you keep doing this, then when do you think you’ll ever get around to accomplishing your dreams?
Chapter 5: How to Deal with the Fear of Anything
“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” -Attributed to Marie Curie
After getting excuses out of the way, there’s another obstacle to overcome, the F-word: fear. We all live with fear every day especially when it comes to fear of the unknown. But, Marie introduces her own acronym for FEAR to help overcome obstacles that seem scary. Face Every-thing and Rise.
While visiting Sicily with Josh, Marie was attempting to learn to ride a scooter. It’s the best way to get around Italy and she didn’t want to take the easy way and ride on the back of Josh’s bike, she knew she would never become a better driver if she didn’t try to drive herself. Well, she crashed. A lot. But, she got back on the scooter and learned how to drive the damn thing. By the end of her vacation, she had overcome her fear of driving a scooter and had the time of her life. The lesson here is that we all wipe out. We all make mistakes. We all have our dumb moments. It’s all part of our growth.
So, how do you overcome fear? Take action. Action is the antidote to fear. Imagine the emotions that come along with fear. You’re shaking, sweating, heart pumping fast, adrenaline rushing through your body. You simply need to learn how to interpret these emotions. Many people interpret this fear as a reason to stop, to not keep going. But, in Steven Pressfield’s The Art of War, he stresses that the more scared we are of something, the more we realize how im-portant it is to us. The more fear we have then the surer we are in our belief that we must over-come that fear. Just like riding a scooter in Italy, Marie was afraid, but she knew the only way to overcome that fear was to get on and just do it.
So how can we tame our fears and transfer that fear into actions? Fear is never going to go away, it’s something that you are going to live with forever. When it comes to making big life decisions like moving or starting a business, or when it comes to smaller decisions like learning how to ride a scooter, fear is going to be there. If you find something is terrifying you to the point of irrational fear, write it down. Then, write down the worst possible scenario that can happen if you face that fear. Rate the scenarios from 1-10 in terms of terribleness. Next, write down an action plan if those scenarios come true. Finally, you’ll want to write down the best-case scenarios as well. You’ll usually find the pros far outweigh the cons and helps put the situa-tion in perspective. This helps you calm down and rationalize the situation.
So, whether you're riding a scooter or starting a business, just do it. Action is the only cure for fear, and you won’t ever accomplish your dreams if you allow fear to control your ac-tions.
Chapter 6: Define your Dream
“Everything’s in the mind. That’s where it all starts. Knowing what you want is the first step toward getting it.” -Mae West
Ever wanted to pick up a new hobby? Maybe you want to travel the world or start a new business. Whatever your goals are, you have them for a reason. Perhaps it’s been a small thought in the back of your head that continues to resurface over the years. Why haven’t you just started? Easy. There’s usually one thing stopping us: indecisiveness.
So what did Marie want to be when she grew up? She always thought she’d figure it out in college, but clearly that didn’t happen. Living with a friend, working as a bartender and waitress, struggling to set up a business and fighting anxiety, she was now working towards her dream job but she still felt incomplete. She craved creativity and found herself at the Broadway Dance Cen-ter for dance lessons. After a few minutes of fumbling around, she finally found a rhythm and felt confident, like this was right.
She was indecisive at first, scared to take that first step of going to dance class, “what if I looked like a fool?” Indecisiveness is detrimental to your goals. You never know how you’ll re-spond to something until you try. You just have to know what you want, and that can seem im-possible at times. Marie wants to help guide you and help you figure out what you want the most.
Think about what you want most in life. Deep down you know you can achieve that want. You have the tools, you just need to learn how to use them. Take Laverne Cox for example. Raised as a boy in Alabama, Laverne knew that she was different and was frequently bullied for acting outside the norm of how young males should act. After a tumultuous childhood and an attempt at suicide, Laverne finally attended Alabama School of Fine Arts where she was able to express herself and wear women's clothing. Finally feeling comfortable in her skin, Laverne moved to New York and sent out over 500 postcards to casting directors. Now, Laverne has ap-peared on Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black and has won two Emmys. She now encourages oth-er trans actors to pursue their dreams regardless of the obstacles. Laverne had fear, but she de-cided that she knew what she wanted and she did everything she could to accomplish her goals.
So decide on what you want out of life, and guess what? Write it down! Yes, write it down. Writing your goals down has proven to give you a 42% greater chance of achieving your goals than if you don’t.
Write down your dreams. Post them on the fridge. Stuff them in your wallet. Look at it every single day and chances are, it’s gonna happen someday.
Chapter 7: Start Before you’re Ready
“Are you ready?” Kalus asked finally. “No,” Sunny answered. “Me neither,” Violet said, “But if we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.” -Lemony Snicket, The Ersatz Elevator
What’s your calling? What do you dream about doing? This may be a difficult question, but that’s normal. Maybe your thought are flooded and can’t focus on just one dream. That’s normal! You see, after her stint in taking dance classes, Marie was told that her passion and ef-fort in dancing had shown and that she could be a good teacher. After much consideration, she realized she would regret never having tried, so she tried out to become a dance teacher. Andguess what? She became a substitute dance teacher and during this time she had an epiphany! She was a multi-passionate entrepreneur.
She was doing a multitude of jobs, all of which she was passionate about. She wasn’t do-ing life the “typical” way with just one career. But why do we think our calling has to be just one thing? We work on that one thing for fifty years and then retire and acted like it didn’t mean anything. She wanted more than that. Life is far too unstable to rely on just one job to see them through to the end of their lives. Her epiphany gave her the strength to just do it.
You never feel ready to do the important things you’re meant to do. For example, Marie caught the eye of an MTV producer during one of her dance classes and was asked to interview with his boss. She wasn’t ready. At least that’s what she initially thought. But, she pushed those thoughts to the side and she got the gig. This choice led to even more gigs for brands like Nike, that one small step led to an abundance of opportunuity. Marketing herself, building an image, she was able to do it all before she was ready. Stop lying to yourself by telling yourself that you aren’t ready. It takes one small step. All progress begins with one brave decision.
To help you get there, break down your dream into manageable chunks. Say, your dream is to travel the world. Start with a surfing trip to California. Don’t procrastinate and just do it. Make a commitment and follow-through, you literally have nothing to lose. It’s all about growth, and making one small step towards progress is better than staying stagnant and accomplishing nothing. Speaking of growth, your growth and progress should be celebrated and valued. Reach out for help when you need it, but keep moving forward. The growth zone will eventually be-come your comfort zone and you’ll wonder why you ever felt that fear in the first place.
Chapter 8: Refuse to be Refused
How do you get what you want? Refuse to be refused. Don’t take no for an answer when you know that you are capable of exceeding expectations. Mentioned previously, Leyhman Gbowee didn’t refuse to quit fighting for peace in Africa, and you shouldn’t refuse to get what you want either.
Margaret Thatcher once said, “you may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”
This can be applied to the time Marie found a space for rent that was perfect for her busi-ness, so she put in an offer. However, the owner rejected the offer, citing that her business wasn’t stable enough, so they were going to give the space to a tech company. But she didn’t give up. Instead, she wrote a letter detailing to the owner the thirteen-year success of her business and what she intended to do with that space. She then hand-delivered the letter, and a few days later received an email stating the owner wanted to meet with her ASAP. She went into the meeting with plans to state the facts and she walked out with a lease. She refused to be refused.
Many people struggle with this because of fear. Fear of the critics telling you that you aren’t good enough, that your dreams are only that...dreams. The critics can say hurtful things to try and bring you down, it happens. But, you can’t let it get you down and you can’t let what oth-ers say affect you.
The fact is is that you are already being judged. You are criticized all the time for what you own, what you wear, what you do in your spare time, etc. So, don’t let the critics get to you. Let the hate fuel your fire and force you to become more productive than ever. It’s also impor-tant to remember that everything you love is despised by someone else. Pleasing everyone all the time is impossible and is a pretty terrible way to live. Don’t let the opinions of others get to you, the more you care about what others think, the more they own you. Live life on your stan-dards, not others.
Determine which criticism is useful and which is useless. Constructive advice can be a great tool to help you build and grow, so listen to others when they are being helpful. It hurts to hear the truth at times, but it can help you immensely. On the other hand, ignore the haters. Ig-nore those that spew hate just to put others down. There’s a difference between constructive criticism and straight-up criticism, learn which advice to take and which to ignore.
Chapter 9: Final Summary:
Everything is figureoutable. One last example of this is when Marie needed a trip to Bar-celona to save her relationship but encountered an obstacle when they arrived at the airport too late and couldn’t check their luggage. Trip ruined. But, Marie didn’t allow it. Instead, she went to the airport shop and bought a duffle and stuffed every last bit of their belongings into the bag. They ditched the big suitcase and made the plane on time. It worked and it saved their relation-ship. You see, everything is figureoutable, you just need to learn how to use the tools you already have inside of you.
If you’re thinking that there’s not enough space in the world for you to influence others. Then maybe this story will change your mind. Josh was a health nut, but Marie wasn’t into the health trend until she met Kris Carr, a cancer-thriver who believed in the benefits of healthy su-perfoods and juices. When she talked to Josh about Kris, he asked her why she had never lis-tened to him when he shared the same sentiments. Sometimes you just need to hear it from someone else, and that someone could be you. Just because others are doing the exact same thing you are doing doesn’t mean you can’t put your own unique spin on it.
You do have a chance to change the universe. You can change lives and you can make a difference.