The pandemic and Stay At Home/social distancing way of living in 2020 has shifted my perspective so much. I have realized how much extra I have in my life – extra stuff, extra activities, extra goals, just this… more-and-more-and-more way of living. Which has been great for me – a lot of ambition has helped me build a life I am so proud of. But once I was forced to slow down and do less, I realized it’s a double edged sword. I don’t know how to stop reaching for more, adding extra layers and pieces into my life which means I barely stop to enjoy everything I have already. I want to take this understanding of priorities, of what matters deep in my heart and soul, and this less busy version of life even as things get back to normal post-pandemic.
So to focus on this new way of living, this simpler life, I started digging through all of my self-development books to find one that wasn’t about creating more in my life, but figuring out making the most of this life I already have. Side note here… so many personal development books are focused on helping you build, create, achieve. I think this is great, but also want to caveat that with – life doesn’t have to always be about creating or getting things, and getting somewhere. We are human beings – it’s okay to just be, instead of do all the things, sometimes. I think our culture (United States) doesn’t always support this as a norm, but it’s no less true.
I found Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo, gifted to me by a dear friend. I hadn’t read it yet, as I was going back and forth between thinking I already had it figured out (haha) and trying to bury my head in the sand and avoid all my problems. But it seemed to fit what I was trying to do now.
This book gave me so much energy about taking a simpler approach to life. The life philosophy that “everything is figureoutable” became my mantra and my guiding principle. I don’t have to have the answers, I just have to believe and behave knowing there ARE answers – and keep taking the next step, make the best choice I have at that time. At first, this whole idea really triggered my anxiety – not having the next 10 steps (or more!) planned out, not having it all figured out before taking action… this all sounded stressful and like it would make me more confused, not figure things out. But I took a chance, and thought why not, since it certainly wouldn’t undo any work I’d done for my new approach to life.
This book taught me that it’s not about having all the answers, or never having setbacks or making mistakes. It’s about knowing there are answers, as long as we keep putting in the effort, taking action to move towards our goal, even if it’s a small step. It’s about having this deeply held, undeniable belief that everything IS figureoutable, and so therefore everything will work out. And that does wonders for my anxiety. It gives me an approach to life that isn’t about controlling and planning everything in order to avoid uncertainty or mistakes. Rather I approach life as something that is going to work out positively, so long as I keep trying. Trying doesn’t require perfection, success, or certain results – it requires effort and good faith. That is something manageable, even on my most anxious days.
So now, I meditate on it and repeat it as my mantra – EVERYTHING is figureoutable. Everything IS figureoutable. Everything is FIGUREOUTABLE. As I instill this as a core belief – the very philosophy I live my life by – I start finding creative solutions to problems I’ve been going back to over and over for years. I find that some problems aren’t really problems – they’re creations of my own making in my fight for control I can’t really have, and don’t truly need.
Even if you think you have everything figured out and know where you’re going in life – I recommend reading this book. Because maybe the way you’ve figured it out, is more complicated and stressful than it needs to be. Maybe you can simplify, plan less, and live a little more. We’re human beings, not human doings, remember?