Book review: Everything is Figureoutable

No matter what you’re facing, you have what it takes to figure anything out and become the person you’re meant to be.

Marie Forleo

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Marie Forleo is the 44-year-old, self-proclaimed ‘Jersey Girl’ behind the wildly successful interview-style show MarieTV, the Marie Forleo Podcast and ‘B-School’- an 8-week online course for creatives looking to start or scale a business. She is a life coach, motivational speaker and former dance athlete.

She entered the mainstream in 2012 after Oprah interviewed her for an episode of SuperSoul Sunday titled, ‘Three New Voices: Next Generation Spiritual Thinkers.’ Four years later she gave a talk at Oprah’s SuperSoul Sessions titled Everything is Figureoutable and her book of the same name was released in 2019.

IN A NUTSHELL

The book takes its title from a phrase Marie’s mother used to say when faced with a problem: “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.”

Marie attributes all of her achievements to the rock solid belief that every situation can be figured out. She says it got her dream jobs she wasn’t qualified for, helped her leave a dead-end relationship, get out of crippling debt and build a seven-figure online empire. 

“Everything is Figureoutable helps us face hard truths consciously… no matter what you’re facing, you have what it takes to figure anything out and become the person you’re meant to be.”

Marie doesn’t stray far from the standard self-help model and provides a broad overview ideal for the personal-development newbie. The book is divided into 10 chapters (not including the intro and epilogue), each addressing a common obstacle you’re sure to find on the road to pursuing your passion.

Anecdotes from Marie’s personal journey weave their way through each section, with follow-up tips, strategies, celebrity quotes and summaries from other writers. Readers are given the chance for further reflection with Insight to Action challenges at the end of each chapter. Marie encourages you to hand-write your responses to prompts designed to delve deeper into the concepts discussed. These are followed by Figureoutable Field Notes, thinly veiled testimonials from fans who have found success applying the mindset to their lives. 

MY IMPRESSIONS

Marie’s writing is fun and conversational. Her personal story is inspirational and her ‘Jersey Marie’ approach to life will have you wishing you could bottle that gusto, or at least be her best friend.

The actual content isn’t revolutionary and she borrows ideas and quotes from a lot of other people. You’ve probably heard most of them before (*cough* Henry Ford *cough*).

I didn’t find the testimonials or real-life examples she used (outside of her own) very relatable. The situations were extreme or far removed from the average person’s life. We’ve all heard about people from third world countries who battled incredible adversity and built a successful life for themselves in North America, but as amazing as that is, it leaves you feeling guilty, not inspired.

There is also the assumption you have attained a certain level of mental health before diving in. The book promises to offer a solution to big ticket items like addiction or toxic relationships, but if you’re medically depressed, struggling with serious mental illness or affected by PTSD, it may not be the best jumping off point. It’s geared more to the average person with a vague goal who can’t seem to get off the couch, or someone who has made a few lame attempts at their dream and threw in the towel.

Similarly, the Insight to Action challenges won’t be for everyone. If you enjoy journaling and personal development or are looking to explore your goals and roadblocks, the work will be fun. Otherwise it’s a big chunk of the book to skip through. Personally, I’ve enjoyed working through the exercises. It’s helped me slow down as I was going through the book and really reflect on each chapter and how it can be applied to my situation. The act of writing also helps me retain information and commit it to memory.

Ultimately, if you’re purchasing this kind of book you probably already have a certain level of self-awareness. You know what is going wrong in your life, you know what you want, you know what your bad habits are, and you know what you need to do about them- you’re just looking for motivation, encouragement or, at worst, a reason to procrastinate and feel like you’re doing something positive.

I’ll admit, I love a well-written self-help book. Even though it’s repetitive and I’ve already heard the aphorisms a million times, it’s like pre-drinking before a party and gets me fired up when I’m having a negative day.

The fact most of these millennial writers are super accessible across multiple platforms makes them feel like friends. Friends who are living the life you want and don’t get salty if you copy them. The scope of accomplishments Marie has under her belt is impressive and what she did to get there seems so simple, it made me feel ashamed for not trying harder in my own life.

Maybe you don’t want to start your own business, or write a book or solve world hunger, but you can still use Everything is Figureoutable, and that is the true beauty of it. If you’re behind on your bills this month, your car broke down for the fifth time yesterday, your child is acting out at school or you lost your job, repeating those three words instantly shifts your mindset to a positive plane and encourages your brain to start looking for solutions instead of engaging in a negative spiral.

MY TOP THREE TAKE-A-WAYS:

Focus on progress, not perfection.

Do the best you can, until you know better.

The most powerful words in the universe are the words you say to yourself.


BOOK AT A GLANCE

Chapter 2
YOUR ROAD-MAP TO RESULTS

All problems (or dreams) are figureoutable.

If a problem is not figureoutable, it’s not really a problem, it’s a fact of life or law of nature (i.e. death/gravity).

You might 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.

Chapter 3
THE MAGIC OF BELIEF

To solve any problem you must make a change at the level of belief.

Beliefs create behaviours and the accumulation of behaviours/habits determines your life.

All beliefs are a choice and choices can be changed.

The most powerful words in the universe are the words you say to yourself.

Chapter 4
ELIMINATE EXCUSES

99% of the time when we say we “can’t” do something; can’t is a euphemism for “won’t” meaning we’re not willing. In other words, you don’t really want to.

Everytime you say “I can’t”, substitute “I won’t” and see how it makes you feel.

You are 100% responsible for your life.

If it’s important enough, I’ll make time. If not, I’ll make an excuse.

Chapter 5
HOW TO DEAL WITH THE FEAR OF ANYTHING

Fear is not the enemy, waiting to stop feeling afraid is.

Worst case scenarios are often low-probability events. They’re even less likely to happen if you strategize how to prevent them from happening and how to deal with them if they did.

Fear vs. intuition and how to tell the difference: does saying yes to this make me feel expanded or contracted.

Failure is just an event. It is not a characteristic. People can’t be failures.

I win or I learn, but I never lose.

Chapter 6
DEFINE YOUR DREAM

Clarity comes from engagement, not thought; whenever you’re experiencing indecision, do something about it as quickly as possible: find a way to take tangible, real action and you’ll be rewarded with priceless feedback.

You wouldn’t have the dream if you didn’t already have what it takes to make it happen.

You’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down.

Chapter 7
START BEFORE YOU’RE READY

Ask yourself, in 10 years, will I regret NOT doing this?

You never feel ready to do the important things you’re meant to do.

All progress begins with a brave decision.

Disobey the voice in your head that says, “I’m not ready yet.”

Beware procrastination disguised as research.

Get skin in the game (put your time, money and ego on the line).

Value growth and learning over comfort and certainty.

Chapter 8
PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION

Starting small and sucky beats staying stucky.

Comparison is creative kryptonite. 

Progress is never a straight line: expect setbacks, stumbles and big flops.

Mind the gap between ambition and ability; bit by bit, piece by piece, day by day, focusing on progress, not perfection, you will successfully cross that chasm.

SIX RULES
Take small steps and ignore big drama.
Plan ahead for problems.
Expect (and embrace) self-doubt.
Ask “what’s the right next move.”
Use the power of positive quitting.
Above all, cultivate patience.

Chapter 9
REFUSE TO BE REFUSED

You’re already being judged right now.

Everything you love is despised by someone else.

The more you care about what others think, the more they own you.

Use what helps, leave the rest.

Never reply when angry, emotional or buzzed.

Make sure your dream is tied to something beyond yourself. When you do your best for the betterment of others, you are unstoppable.

Purpose fuels persistence. 

Chapter 10
THE WORLD NEEDS YOUR SPECIAL GIFT

When you have an idea, a possibility, the tiniest nugget of a dream for yourself or others and you don’t do everything you can to bring it to life, you are stealing from those who need it most.

If you haven’t done your version, then no, it hasn’t all been done before.

Chapter 11
THE REAL SECRET TO LASTING SUCCESS

You have to do it by yourself, and you can’t do it alone.


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