During Marie Forleo’s childhood, her mother was always engaged in various household repair projects. Whether it was fixing a broken radio or repairing a leaky roof, their financial constraints prevented them from buying replacements or hiring professionals, so her mother took it upon herself to fix things.
Despite lacking technical expertise and the absence of instructional videos on platforms like YouTube (since it was the 1980s), Marie wondered how her mother seemed to possess an endless source of knowledge. One day, she mustered the courage to ask her mother the question that had been on her mind: “Mom, how do you know how to do all of these things?”
To Marie’s surprise, her mother didn’t possess all the answers. However, she held a firm belief that “everything is figureoutable.” This belief implies that every problem has a solution, as long as one is willing to invest the effort into figuring it out.
Since that enlightening conversation, “everything is figureoutable” has become more than just a phrase for Marie Forleo. It has evolved into a guiding mantra, an attitude, and a philosophy that shapes her approach to life. As we delve deeper, we’ll discover that this concept applies not only to DIY projects but also to various personal, professional, financial, and practical challenges we encounter.
As humans, we possess the remarkable ability to transform our ideas into tangible realities. This extraordinary power allows us to make significant personal decisions, create technological advancements, express artistic creations, and pursue professional ambitions.
Marie Forleo’s journey exemplifies the transformative nature of this process. After graduating college in the late 1990s, she faced challenges in finding a fulfilling career path. Despite holding various jobs, none of them resonated with her. However, her life took a turn when she stumbled upon an article about life coaching—an unfamiliar profession at the time. This revelation ignited a deep sense of purpose within her, propelling her to help others achieve their personal and professional goals.
Choosing to follow this newfound dream, Marie declined a promotion at Vogue magazine and embarked on her path as a coach. Today, she impacts millions of lives through her online TV show, podcast, and business training program.
However, the realization of our ideas does not come effortlessly. Numerous obstacles, challenges, and problems stand in our way, requiring hard work, skills, resources, knowledge, and courage to overcome them.
Marie’s journey highlights the initial self-doubts she had to overcome. At just 23 years old, she questioned why anyone would trust her as a life coach. Additionally, she faced significant financial burdens, amassing tens of thousands of dollars in debt.
To establish her coaching business, she worked additional shifts as a bartender and took on various side jobs for seven years to stabilize her finances.
The path from conception to successful realization is seldom quick or easy. The philosophy of “everything is figureoutable” acknowledges this reality and encourages us to embrace the inevitable difficulties of life, approaching them with determination and resilience.
No amount of positive thinking alone can magically solve our problems, contrary to what some self-help guides may suggest. However, having a negative mindset can make our problems seem insurmountable, leading to a sense of passivity and defeat. It is essential to believe in ourselves and our ability to overcome challenges if we want to achieve anything. Without this belief, we are likely to give up before even attempting to accomplish our goals.
This creates a cycle where our self-limiting beliefs prevent us from taking action. As long as we convince ourselves that we cannot do something, we will never make an effort to try. Consequently, we will never experience success in that particular endeavor. It is crucial to recognize that our abilities are not inherently limited; it is our self-imposed beliefs that restrict us.
For instance, if we believe we are not good with numbers and cannot manage our finances, we will never take the initiative to create a better budget. Conversely, when we have the belief that we can accomplish something, we become more motivated to pursue it. By taking action, we make progress and reinforce our belief in our capabilities, dispelling any lingering self-doubts.
This principle applies to our beliefs about the external world as well. Our beliefs can either limit us or empower us. Ultimately, our beliefs shape our reality and become self-fulfilling prophecies, determining the course of our lives and the outcomes we experience.
From thinking we’ll never have enough talent to “make it” to assuming there are just not enough opportunities out there anymore, all of us have a variety of self-limiting beliefs about our abilities and the world around us. In theory, we could try to identify all of them at once and then replace each of them with a self-empowering belief – but that would be a pretty arduous, time-consuming task.
Fortunately, there’s a more practical way of doing this. We can simply adopt the belief that “everything is figureoutable.” It’s the ultimate self-empowering belief, and it provides a universal antidote to all of our self-limiting beliefs.
Think about it this way: at bottom, every self-limiting belief boils down to the notion that this or that problem isn’t solvable.
By adopting the belief that “everything is figureoutable,” you can immediately dismiss any self-limiting belief as it arises and replace it with the core premise of the opposite belief: this or that problem is solvable. Your task then becomes figuring it out and implementing it.
In other words, “everything is figureoutable” is a pragmatic assumption rather than a scientific hypothesis. But that’s okay, because the point isn’t to make a grandiose claim about the nature of the universe; rather, it’s to spur you on to as much proactive problem-solving as possible, while minimizing the degree to which you give up on things unnecessarily.
It’s like an instant-encouragement tool you can carry around in your back pocket, always ready to help you out in a pinch.
Before we tackle self-limiting beliefs, let’s question why we become attached to them in the first place.
The truth is, self-limiting beliefs often serve as convenient excuses to avoid taking action. Whether it’s due to laziness, lack of motivation, or fear, we use these beliefs to justify our unwillingness to pursue something. Instead of admitting that we don’t want to do it, we convince ourselves that we can’t. But if we truly desired something, we would find a way to overcome any obstacles in our path.
Consider a time when you were determined to achieve a goal that seemed out of reach. You didn’t give up; you found creative solutions to make it happen. Marie’s experience exemplifies this. Despite lacking funds for a retreat, her burning desire led her to take on extra jobs and negotiate a special payment plan.
The distinction between “can’t” and “won’t” is crucial. By acknowledging that our inaction is a choice, we take responsibility and recognize our agency in the matter. Although we may continue to choose inaction, we open ourselves up to the possibility of a more proactive approach.
There are three common excuses we often make for why we “can’t” do things, and it’s important to examine them closely.
The first excuse is a lack of time. Many of us have busy schedules, making it seem like a valid reason. However, consider a thought experiment: imagine your doctor tells you that you have a fatal disease and the only cure is to sit still and do nothing for two hours each day. Faced with the alternative of death, you would likely find ways to free up time by eliminating nonessential activities. This demonstrates that there are potential pockets of time available for pursuing our goals, even if it’s just a fraction of those two hours.
The second excuse is a lack of money. The question to ask here is whether money is truly necessary for what we want to do. In some cases, there are free resources available online for learning new skills or accomplishing certain tasks. If money is indeed required, there are various options to explore, such as taking on additional work, seeking scholarships or grants, crowdfunding, selling items, or finding ways to reduce expenses. It’s important to recognize the diverse possibilities for acquiring the funds needed.
The third excuse is not knowing how to do something or where to start. Fortunately, we live in a time where information is abundantly accessible. Online resources, workshops, classes, books, and mentors are available to help us learn and develop the necessary skills. The wealth of information enables us to acquire knowledge in almost any area we wish to explore.
By challenging these excuses and exploring alternative perspectives, we can overcome self-imposed limitations and take meaningful steps toward achieving our goals.
Now that we have addressed the excuses of time, money, and knowledge, let’s explore another obstacle that often hinders our progress: fear.
When embarking on new ventures, there comes a point where we must step into unfamiliar territory, which can be intimidating. It’s natural to experience fear in such situations, but we don’t have to let it control us. Instead of allowing fear to hold us back, we can actually use it as a driving force to propel us forward.
The key lies in how we interpret the emotion of fear. Consider the physical sensations that accompany fear, such as a racing heart, sweaty palms, and a knot in the stomach. When we allow fear to inhibit us, we interpret these sensations as signals telling us to avoid the situation. However, we can choose to interpret them differently.
Another way to reframe fear is to see it as an indicator of the importance we attach to a particular task. Often, the dreams that persistently occupy our minds, like writing a book or making a significant life change, evoke fear because they hold great significance for us.
Regardless of how we choose to interpret fear, it is crucial to stop viewing it as an enemy that must be defeated or overcome before we can take action. Fear will always be present, and waiting for it to disappear entirely will keep us stuck at the starting line indefinitely. The only way to move past fear is to take action despite its presence and push through it.
When faced with important decisions, it is common to doubt ourselves and hesitate, leading to indecision, which is a significant obstacle to achieving our goals.
We often waste a substantial amount of time and energy questioning whether we can or should pursue a particular course of action. Marie herself spent years contemplating whether she could or should pursue her dream of becoming a dancer before finally deciding to go for it. If we’re not careful, indecisiveness can persist for years and prevent us from taking any action at all.
However, this does not mean that we should make impulsive decisions without thinking, planning, or conducting research. It is important to have a well-thought-out business plan, for example, before investing in a venture. Nevertheless, sitting on the fence will not get us anywhere, and the only way to truly test an idea and determine its potential is by taking action.
One reason we succumb to indecisiveness is the belief that we need complete clarity before we can act. In reality, it is through action that we gain clarity. Marie only became certain that she wanted to pursue dancing when she actually stepped into a dance class and started moving to the rhythm.
Another trap we fall into is thinking that we must make a monumental decision immediately in order to pursue our dreams. However, consider what Marie did; she didn’t quit her coaching business and fully commit to dancing right away. She simply enrolled in a class. Escaping the grip of indecisiveness only requires taking a small step forward and testing the waters.
You don’t have to make a grand, definitive decision right away. You just need to take an action that brings you closer to gaining clarity and making a decision one way or another.
The final obstacle we need to eliminate is the belief that we must wait until we are fully ready before taking action.
At first, this idea seems reasonable. It makes sense to want to be prepared before embarking on something, right? However, here’s the problem: if being “ready” means having all the necessary skills, knowledge, confidence, and motivation to succeed, then you will never truly be ready in that sense. That’s because acquiring those ingredients of success can only happen through active engagement in the task at hand.
Skills are mastered through practice, knowledge is gained through experience, confidence is built by seeing results, and motivation is boosted by feeling the empowerment and benefits that come with taking action.
For instance, let’s consider the motivational aspect of exercise. If you wait until you feel fully motivated to start a workout routine, chances are you will never get off the couch. However, once you begin moving and taking action, you will gradually feel more energized, and your initial inertia will transform into momentum.
Take note of what’s happening here: the act of doing something generates the desire to continue doing it—it doesn’t work the other way around. Paradoxical as it may seem, the only way to become ready for something is to start before you feel ready.
So don’t wait for some distant, hypothetical future when you believe you’ll be “ready.” Start right here, right now. Seriously, as soon as you finish reading this, take action—any action—that brings you one step closer to achieving your goals. To stay focused, choose one goal to tackle for now, the one that feels most important to you. Identify a small, manageable, and tangible first step to take, and then take it. The key is to set the ball in motion.
Remember: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and winning a race requires taking one step after another. But if you never take that first step, you won’t get anywhere. So, stop lingering at the starting line and take that initial step today. Your dreams are waiting for you at the finish line.