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Stop Asking Couples When They Are Having Kids

“So, when are you having kids?” my aunt asked me soon after I got married. At that point, I had just been married for a few months. I didn’t even know *if* I wanted kids, much less *when* I was having them.

Caught off guard, I replied matter-of-factly, “I have not decided if I want to have kids.” Little did I realize that I would spend the next hour listening to stories of women who put off having children until it was too late, as well as women who had difficulty conceiving for various reasons, with the implicit message being that I was going to regret it if I didn’t hurry and work on producing babies.

This would be my life for the next few years, where I would receive constant questions around “When are you having kids?” from relatives and random people, followed by a routine, almost ritualistic pressurization to have kids.

Lest you think that it ends after having a child, it doesn’t. The people who previously tried to tell you to have “just one kid” when you were indifferent to the idea, will now tell you to have a second one, along with reasons why you should do so. It seems like this questioning process never ends.

The problem with asking people “When are you having kids?”

I understand why people like to ask this question. Find a partner, settle down, get married, and have kids. This is the life path that we’ve been taught to follow since young. This is the life script that we’ve been told is *the* way of life, that would bring us ultimate joy and happiness.

This is especially so in the Chinese culture, where having kids is seen as the ultimate goal in life. There are even sayings built around this notion, such as 生儿育女 (shēng ér yù nǚ), which means to birth sons and raise daughters, and 子孙满堂 (zǐ sūn mǎn táng), which means to be in a room filled with children and grandchildren, used to signify the epitome of happiness.

Multi-Generation Chinese Family at the Park

A multi-generation family, often used to depict a vision of happiness in the Chinese culture

So after you get married, people automatically assume that you should have kids. “When are you having kids?” they ask, somehow expecting you to give them a straight answer to what is really a personal question.

The problem with this question is that it’s rude. It’s presumptuous. It’s also insensitive.

1) There are many different paths to happiness

Firstly, everyone has their own path in life. Some people want kids, while some don’t. Some think that having kids is the greatest joy in life, while some see them as a burden. At the end of the day, having kids isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. There are significant ups and downs that come with having a kid, and for some people, the ups do not justify the downs. For these people, it may simply be better to remain childless, rather than having kids just to fit in or to fit societal expectations, and then set their lives up for unhappiness. To assume that everyone should have kids, just because you think that having kids is great and important, is rude and disregards that person’s own preferences in life.

For example, Oprah Winfrey is an inspiring woman and humanitarian who chose not to have kids, but has instead dedicated herself to her personal life purpose of serving the world. Oprah hosted her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show for 25 years, founded a leadership academy for girls and became a mother figure to the girls in attendance, and started her own television network. These are things that most do not get to do in their lifetime. Through the years, she has inspired millions and become a champion for people worldwide. As she says,

“When people were pressuring me to get married and have children, I knew I was not going to be a person that ever regretted not having them, because I feel like I am a mother to the world’s children. Love knows no boundaries. It doesn’t matter if a child came from your womb or if you found that person at age two, 10, or 20. If the love is real, the caring is pure and it comes from a good space, it works.” — Oprah[1]

Is she not being a responsible or purposeful person or woman by choosing not to have kids? Definitely not. In fact, I dare say that she lives a much more purposeful life than many in the world, including some people who choose to have kids.

There are many famous celebrities who have chosen not to have kids as well.

  • Chelsea Handler is a talk show host who chose not to have kids. She has said honestly in interviews that she doesn’t have the time to raise a child, and she doesn’t want her kids to be raised by a nanny.[2][3]
  • Betty White is an actress and comedian who chose not to have kids because she’s passionate about her career and she prefers to focus on it.[4]
  • Ashley Judd is an actress and politican activist who chose not to have kids because she feels that there are already so many orphaned kids in this world. To her, her resources can be better used to help those who are already here, and I respect her for such a noble choice.[5]

And then there are others, such as Cameron Diaz, Chow Yun Fat, Marisa Tomei (the actress for Peter Parker’s aunt in Tom Holland’s Spider Man film series), Renée Zellweger, and Rachael Ray. These people choose not to have kids for different reasons, such as because they’re already pursuing paths deeply meaningful to them, because they do not wish to be tied down with a child, or because they just don’t feel a deep desire to have kids.

Not having kids has not prevented these people from being happy in life, and there’s no reason to assume why people must have kids in order to be happy. People need to stop painting this narrative that one must have children in order to be happy. There are plenty of people with kids who are unhappy, and plenty of people without kids who have found inner fulfillment in life through other ways. There is no one path to happiness, and people need to realize that.

2) You may well cause hurt and pain

Secondly, you never know what others are going through.

Some people may want kids, but maybe they are facing fertility struggles. For example,

  • Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan went through three miscarriages before having their firstborn.[6]
  • The Obamas had a miscarriage before they had their daughters via IVF.[7]
  • Friends star Courteney Cox had a total of seven miscarriages before having her daughter, as she has a MTHFR gene mutation which raises the risk of miscarriage-causing blood clots.[8]

About 10% of women have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant,[9] while 13.5% of known pregnancies end in miscarriages, with the figure rising as the maternal age rises.[10]

For some people, the journey to conceive is fraught with deep pain, struggle, and losses as they experience miscarriages, undergo round after round of invasive fertility treatments, and wait in hope of the double blue lines on their pregnancy kit each month.

And then there are people who cannot have their own biological children due to issues with their reproductive system, which could have been there since birth.

Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, and family

Barack and Michelle Obama had a miscarriage before they had their daughters via IVF

While you may be think that you’re being helpful or funny by asking people when they’re having kids, your question may well trigger hurt and pain. As Zuckerberg said,

“You feel so hopeful when you learn you’re going to have a child. You start imagining who they’ll become and dreaming of hopes for their future. You start making plans, and then they’re gone. It’s a lonely experience.”[6]

3) Not everyone is in a place to have kids

Thirdly, having kids is simply not a reality for some people due to their circumstances in life.

Some people may lack the financial resources to have kids, a reality in a place like Singapore.

Some people may be facing problems with their marriage, in which case their priority should be to work on their marriage, not to have kids.

Some people may be so burdened with caring for their dependents that they are unable to consider kids, at least not at the moment.

And then there are people facing chronic health issues, issues that you don’t know and can’t see, which make pregnancy difficult due to the toll it would take on their body.

4) Some couples could still be thinking

And then there are people who are neutral to the idea of having kids, like myself when I just got married. These people need time to think it through, because having kids is a permanent, lifelong decision with serious consequences. There’s no reason to assume that having a kid should be an automatic decision, because you’re bringing a whole new life into this world. This is a decision that will change your life forever, as well as the life of the child you’re bringing into the world.

For those yet to have kids, they need the space to figure out what they want, not have people breathe down their neck day in and out about having kids.

My experience

For the initial years after I got married, I just wasn’t thinking about kids. Firstly, having a child is a lifelong decision, and I wanted to enjoy married life with my husband before diving into a decision as serious as that. Secondly, both my husband and I were genuinely happy spending the rest of our lives with just each other — we didn’t feel the need to have kids at all, not in the way my culture obsesses about it. Thirdly, my husband was dealing with some personal problems, and I was fully focused on supporting him through these. These were issues that we needed to sort through before considering kids, if we were to want kids.

Yet I kept getting nudges to have kids, even though I never said anything about wanting them.

“So, when are you having kids?”

“This person’s baby is so cute, isn’t it? Why don’t you hurry up and birth a baby?”

It was as if I was some vehicle, some production machine to have kids, where my own views in the matter didn’t matter. The most frustrating thing was that I kept getting this question, while my husband would never get it (as a man), not even when we were in the same room together.

It was as if my sole reason for existence as a woman was to have kids, and until I had them, I was regarded as unworthy or incomplete.

The decision to have kids

Yet the decision to have children is a personal one. It is also a complex one. It is a decision that will permanently change the lives of the couple in question.

It is not a decision that one should be pressurized into making because their mom wants to carry grandchildren or their aunt wants to play with kids. It’s a decision that a couple should make because they genuinely want to nurture another life.

Because when a child is born, the people bugging others to have kids aren’t the ones who will be caring for the baby 24/7, whose lives will be set back by years (even decades) as they care for a new life, or who will be responsible for every decision concerning the child for the next 18-21 years.

It will be the couple.

And the people who aren’t ready, who were pressured into having kids because they were told that it was the best thing to do, may have to deal with regret as they are stuck with a decision they cannot undo. Because there are people who regret having kids, and we need to be honest about that. These people regret, not because of the child’s fault, but because they were simply not ready to have kids, be it financially, emotionally, or mentally. Unfortunately, the children are the ones who eventually suffer, from living in dysfunctional households to dealing with issues of violenceabuse, and anger.

We need to recognize these realities, and not make parenthood seem like it’s some magical band-aid that solves a lack of purpose or life’s pressures. Things don’t magically get better because people have kids; existing problems usually worsen as having a child puts a big strain on a couple’s lives. Digging into people’s plans to have kids, and pressurizing them into one of the biggest life decisions they can ever make, will only stress them out and perhaps push some into depression. As this redditor shared,

“I have a friend who went through 6 years of miscarriages and fertility treatments before the doctors figured out the problem and she had her son. The nosy ladies at her work and her in-laws questioned her constantly. The depression from that made it harder for her to conceive.”

Stop asking couples when they’re having kids

So, if you tend to ask others when they’re having kids, it’s time to stop that. It’s rude, insensitive, and it disregards people’s privacy. It’s also none of your business.

The reality is that if people want kids, they will work on having kids. They don’t need you to prod them about it.

If they don’t have kids, it’s either because

  1. they really don’t want kids,
  2. they are not in a position to consider kids right now, or
  3. they want kids but they are facing some struggles.

For people in group (c), they aren’t going to share such deeply personal experience over some afternoon coffee chat, and certainly not by you asking, “When are you having kids?”

The best thing you can do is to give people their personal space. Understand that having kids is a personal decision, and people don’t have to share or explain anything. Respect that others have their right to privacy. Respect that people are individuals on their own path, and this path may not involve having kids. And this doesn’t make them incomplete or lesser in any way.

Instead of asking women or couples, “When are you having kids?”, talk to them like how you would a normal person. There’s no reason why conversations should suddenly revolve around childbearing after marriage; it’s not like a person’s identity changes to revolve around having kids. A person still has their own passion, goals, and dreams. Talk to them about what they’ve been doing. Understand their interests. Know them as a real person, not some random being here to fulfill society’s checklist.

If you’re really interested in someone’s plan to have children, you can simply ask, “Are you and your partner planning to have kids?” If they wish to share more, they will do so. If they give a generic answer, then take the hint and move on.

Ultimately, having kids or not doesn’t change a person’s self-worth. A woman is complete with or without kids. A marriage doesn’t need kids to be deemed complete. Having kids should be a conscious choice, not a result of external pressure. Don’t judge people by whether they have kids or not. Some people will have kids, and some people will not have kids. Some will have kids early, while some will have them later in life. All of these are different paths and there’s nothing wrong with them.

For Me

For my husband and I, we eventually had a few discussions and decided to have a baby, and had our baby girl this year (2020). 😊 Yet other people’s comments and nudges to have children didn’t make me want to have children; it only annoyed me and made me want to avoid these people, because having a child is a personal decision between me and my husband, that has nothing to do with them. It was after we had the space to settle down and enjoy married life without kids, and took some time to actively pursue our goals and interests, that we finally felt ready to try for a kid last year.

In the meantime, I hope all of you are doing well. There are other things that I’m working on, other things that are happening that I look forward to sharing in time to come. Sending lots of love to you, and remember that whatever life challenge you’re facing, you have it in you to overcome it. I’ll talk to you guys soon! 🙂

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The Opportunity in Adversity

By Eckhart Tolle

Life unfolds between the polarities of order and chaos. It is important at this time to recognize these two fundamental opposites, without which the world could not even be. Another word for disorder is “adversity.” When it becomes more extreme, we might call it “chaos.”

We would prefer, of course, to have order in our lives, which means to have things going well. We would like relative harmony in our lives. Yet, that very often is marred by the eruption of some form of disorder. And, usually, we resent that—we get angry, or despondent, or sad.

Disorder comes in many, many forms, big and small. When disorder comes it usually creates a kind of havoc in our lives, accompanied by strong underlying beliefs. “There’s something very wrong, this should not be happening, maybe God is against me,” and so on. Again, we need to understand that disorder, or adversity, is inevitable and is an essential part of a higher order.

 From a higher perspective, a higher level, the existence of order and disorder, or order and chaos, is a necessary part of the evolution of life.

 Many people have found that they experience a deepening, or a deeper sense of self or beingness, immediately after and as a result of having endured a period of disorder or chaos. This is sometimes called “the dark night of the soul,” a term from medieval Christianity used to describe the mental breakdown that many mystics experienced prior to awakening spiritually. There was an eruption of disorder, of destruction. Then, out of that, a deeper realization arose.

 And although that can be very painful, the strange thing is, it’s precisely there that many humans experience a transcendence. A strange fact is that it almost never happens that people awaken spiritually while they’re in their comfort zone. Or that they become deeper as human beings, which would be a partial awakening. It almost never happens. The place where the evolutionary shift happens, or the evolutionary leap, is usually the experience of disorder in a person’s life.

And so your life then moves between order and disorder. You have both, and they’re both necessary. There’s no guarantee that when disorder erupts this will bring about an awakening or a deepening, but there’s always the possibility. It is an opportunity, but often, it is missed.

 So here we are at this time, and our mission is the same: to align with the present moment, with whatever is happening here and now. The upheaval that we’re experiencing at the present time probably will not be the last upheaval that’s going to come on a collective level. However, it is an opportunity—because although this is a time for upheavals, it is also a time for awakening. The two go together. Just as in an individual life, you need adversity to awaken. It’s an opportunity but not a guarantee. And so what looks tragic and unpleasant on a conventional level is actually perfectly fine and as it should be on a higher level; it would not be happening otherwise. It’s all part of the awakening of human beings and of planetary awakening.

To learn more about Eckhart’s teachings on Conscious Manifestation, click here.

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The post The Opportunity in Adversity appeared first on Eckhart Tolle | Official Site – Spiritual Teachings and Tools For Personal Growth and Happiness.

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Before you say “good riddance!” to 2020, slow down and listen up. This is important.

I have some big news to share that’ll help you have more clarity, confidence, resilience, and success in the new year.

It has a lot to do with what my mom used to tell me as a little girl growing up in Jersey. 

“Marie, nothing in life is that complicated,” she’d say from halfway under the sink as she fixed a leak. “You can do whatever you set your mind to if you roll up your sleeves. Everything is figureoutable.”

I talk about this a lot. Everything is figureoutable was the theme of my Oprah talk and the title of my #1 NY Times Bestseller. Why do I keep harping on about it?


You are a one-time mega event in the universe. Don’t waste it.
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Because if you’re having trouble solving a problem or reaching a dream, the problem isn’t you. And it’s not the dumpster fire of 2020, either — truly. It’s that you haven’t yet installed this one belief that changes everything.

So here’s the big, exciting news:

The paperback edition of my bestselling book, Everything is Figureoutable, just launched today!

It’s hard to believe that one year ago, my team and I were in New York City doing the book launch to end all book launches. We had a massive event in NYC that kicked off a world tour with in-person gatherings around the globe. How the world has changed.

The Paperback Cover Reveal: New Look, Same Unstoppable Results

When we first released Everything is Figureoutable, I wanted the cover to be powerful, fresh, and exciting.

It took hundreds of hours collaborating with my team and the publisher to create the hardcover design you know and love. We even released a behind-the-scenes MarieTV all about the design process.

When it came to launching the paperback, we had a choice. 

Stick to the original? Or create a whole new design?

You know me — I couldn’t resist a challenge, and I’m thrilled with the result.

Now, you may know that the words “everything is figureoutable” came from my mother’s little Tropicana orange radio. As a little girl, I knew I could find her somewhere around the house by listening for the tinny sound coming from that radio.

This radio became a symbol for me — that everything really is figureoutable — and, since the launch of this book, thousands of you have adopted it as a symbol for yourselves.

This past year I’ve needed the “everything is figureoutable mantra more than ever. Even as I write this, I’m still recovering from an emergency hysterectomy that I definitely didn’t see coming.

But you know what this year of uncertainty, crisis, and change has taught me? What my team, our community, and YOU have shown me again and again?

That everything really is figureoutable — no matter what the circumstances.

To celebrate the life-changing impact of this book, we’re releasing a brand new cover design for the paperback (check it out below). Plus, you’ll get to read stories from folks who’ve used these three words to transform every aspect of their lives. Yes, even during a global pandemic.

I’m grateful I got this book out into the world in time to help people navigate the-year-that-never-ends.

And I’m excited to introduce it to you again in its whole new form.

Featuring, of course, my mom’s orange radio.

You can listen to an excerpt right now on MarieTV and The Marie Forleo Podcast.

Proof That Everything is Figureoutable (Even in 2020 & Beyond)

Want to test human resilience, creativity, courage, and fortitude? How about a pandemic, a social revolution, a harrowing election, and a stacking of personal loss, crisis, economic devastation, and illness? That’ll about do it — thanks 2020, you can stop now.

While I’m eager to welcome 2021, I’m also deeply grateful for getting Everything is Figureoutable out into the world when we did.

Over the past year, we’ve heard from SO many folks who’ve not just read the book, but DONE the book and created extraordinary results in the process. Read these three letters to inspire you to use the figureoutable mindset to create the life you want.

Hi Marie,
I wanted to thank you for your leadership and wisdom. I read your book at the start of this pandemic (back in April, which feels like a century ago now!) and it helped me completely transform my life.

Pre-Covid, I was a “starving artist”, working in a restaurant at night and auditioning for musicals during the day. When all the restaurants in NYC shut down, I knew it was my chance to get out of the restaurant industry for good, and find something else to do for money that would use my innovative creativity and storytelling skills. 

Since April, I have started a thriving digital marketing business, and I’ve picked up 2 part-time jobs — one Creative Director position and one Marketing Assistant position. I cannot believe that in the span of 5 months (and in the middle of a pandemic!) I would be able to find work that I am passionate about.

Thank you so much for all your wisdom and for kickstarting the idea that I could figure out anything if I set my mind to it. I feel like it was fate that I stumbled upon your book when I did.
~Sarah, New York

You don’t have to figure everything out at the same time. This next letter from Ellen shows how figuring out the small stuff first builds momentum to achieve your big dreams and pass on a legacy.

One day my car tire was nearly flat and I had no clue what to do. I remembered Marie’s mantra and Googled my car model and tire air pressure at the gas station and sorted out my flat tire in two minutes. This gave me proof and confidence that everything IS figureoutable. 

I’ve since gone on to get a well paying job and run my own business on the side. I have a range of power tools and my very own toolbox to flip a new four-bedroom house by the sea in Ireland. I passed Marie’s mantra on through word and action to my four children. Three of them have flown the coop and are studying law, accountancy, and psychology. They are living and working independently from me without a single loan. Marie’s mantra is their mantra as well as mine and I know they’ll pass it on to their children in the future.
~ Ellen, Ireland

And then there’s Bradford, who’s story makes me cry and cheer every time I read it.

I just thought I’d share with all y’all my own story of “figureoutable”… I am coming off a 7-year life stint that began with my mom coming down with Alzheimer’s. One day I got a call from my dad who let me know that he had to have my mom picked up and sent to the hospital, at which point we were told she’d never be able to go home again. We knew this day was going to inevitably come but we were devastated. We also had NO IDEA how to handle any of what was happening — or what was to come. 

Long story short, in the throes of heartbreak, we got my mom placed into a good memory care facility and began the process of figuring out the legal and financial matters. Again, with NO CLUE how any of this worked or how it would all come together. Then I had to pack up and sell our family home, move my dad into a new place, get him settled, find out within 6 months of moving in that HE had Alzheimer’s too (!!?!!), sell his new place, move him up to live near me so I could be his caregiver (while working a full-time job), eventually find him a memory care facility, plan their funeral arrangements, and — within the past year — say goodbye to both of them as they passed away. I had no fucking idea going into any of this but, in the end, it was indeed, figureoutable.

So, on the heels of all of that and with a new and deeply profound appreciation for the preciousness of life, I am now wrapping up my job (with healthy savings in the bank, mind you) to start off on a new life journey as an artist. Do I know exactly how I’ll get there? Not really. But now — more than EVER — I know that I’ll figure it out. And I’m thrilled to have your insights and inspiration for my journey into this new chapter.
~Bradford Crowder

Beautiful, right?

This is why I wrote Everything is Figureoutable. The exercises in this book retrain your brain to think more creatively and positively, even in the face of the most horrific setbacks.

It won’t always be easy. Or straightforward. But once you’ve ingrained this belief into your operating system, the inevitable obstacles, pain, devastation, and challenges that come with life won’t be any match for your inner resolve, creativity, and strength. 

Your Future Is Figureoutable

In the comments below, let me know one thing you most want to figure out in 2021. Do you want to sleep train your infant? Start a photography business? Tackle the climate crisis? Sing karaoke? It’s all fair game. Share your dream below — you never know when it might inspire someone else to do the same.

And, if you haven’t already, grab your paperback copy of Everything is Figureoutable.

Remember — no matter what happened in 2020 or what you’ll face in the new year — you have what it takes to figure anything out and become the person you’re meant to be.

XO

The post Your Future Is Figureoutable — NEW Paperback Book Cover Revealed appeared first on .

Important Info

At the end of every year, I like to reflect on everything that’s happened over the past twelve months. Though 2020 was memorable for unfortunate reasons, I’ve already forgotten some of the smaller things that happened over the course of the year.

Remember when Tiger King and whipped coffee were all we talked about for a while? That feels like a lifetime ago. Sometimes changes in our lives are so subtle that we barely notice they’re happening. You might not have recognized the wins you had or the ways you’ve grown because there were other things fighting for your attention.

30 end of year journal prompts to close out this chapter and move into the new year with a fresh mindset

If you’re like me, the goals you set in January may no longer feel relevant. You might have put them on the back-burner because other things took priority. And that’s okay. Give yourself some credit for dealing with something that none of us have ever experienced before.

Sidenote on my goals: I did pay off half of my credit card debt and built up my emergency fund.

Whether you achieved your goals or not, it’s helpful to take a moment to process your experience of the past year. That way, you can let go of anything that’s weighing you down.

To help you reflect on the year, I’ve put together a list of 30 end of year journal prompts to close out this chapter and move into the new year with a fresh mindset.

I recommend setting aside 30 minutes or so to let yourself journal and be in the moment. Create a comfy environment by making a cup of your favorite beverage, putting on a calming playlist, and lighting a candle. Savor this mindful ritual with yourself!

30 End of Year Journal Prompts for Self-Reflection


30 end of year journal prompts to close out this chapter and move into the new year with a fresh mindset

Click here to download the printable version

Challenges & Wins

  1. What were your biggest challenges from the year? What did you learn from them?
  2. What were your biggest wins from the year? What did you accomplish? What are you proud of yourself for?

Resources

  1. What helped you to get through this year? (e.g. routines, boundaries, relationships, resources)
  2. What were your favorite books, movies, shows, and songs from the past year?

Inner Self

  1. How would you describe the version of yourself from the past year? How have you changed since last year? In what ways have you grown this year?
  2. What kind of person do you want to become next year? How do you want to grow? How can you treat yourself with love, respect, and patience?

Wellness

  1. How well did you take care of yourself this year? Did you prioritize exercise, sleep, and nutrition?
  2. How will you commit to taking even better care of yourself next year?

Boundaries

  1. What kind of boundaries did you set for yourself and others this year? How did you uphold those boundaries? Where did you let them slide? 
  2. What do you want your boundaries to look like for next year? How will you prioritize them?

Routine

  1. What did your typical daily routine look like this year? How did you start and end your days? 
  2. What do you want your routine to look like for next year? What would be your ideal morning and evening routines?

Priorities

  1. What were your top three priorities this past year? (e.g. work, family, finances, self-care, mental health, etc)
  2. What are your top three priorities for next year? Why are they important to you?

Work

  1. How satisfied were you with your work this year? What did you enjoy and not enjoy?
  2. What changes could you make next year will help you feel fulfilled with your work?

Environment

  1. What role did your environment play in your life this year? (Think of your living space, community, workspace, nature, etc)
  2. Do you want to make any changes to your environment next year? What would your ideal environment look and feel like?

Emotions

  1. What emotions did you experience this past year? Did you allow yourself to feel or talk about them freely?
  2. What feelings do you want to embrace for next year? What intentions do you want to set?

Thoughts

  1. What was your mindset like this year? Did you overthink or overanalyze anything in particular?
  2. How can you improve your mindset in the next year? How will you commit to keeping a healthy mindset?

Connections

  1. Who did you connect with this year? Who made you feel the most supported?
  2. Who do you want to connect with next year? What kind of people do you want to surround yourself with?

Fun & Hobbies

  1. How did you relax and unwind this year? What were your favorite memories? Did you start any new hobbies or nurture old ones?
  2. What do you want to explore more of next year? What does fun look like to you?

Gratitude 

  1. Who are you most grateful for? What are you most grateful for? Write down why you are grateful for these people and things.
  2.  How can you express your gratitude more next year?

Goals & Growth

  1. What goals did you set for yourself at the beginning of the year? Did you achieve them? (Note: Remember to give yourself grace if you didn’t achieve your goals)
  2. What are your goals for next year? What do you want to learn or get better at? Think of work, health, finances, relationships, and home. What tools or resources will help you stay on track with your goals?

See you next year!

I hope these end of year journal prompts help you reflect on the past year and move into the new year with ease and intention. Feel free to leave a comment with some of your reflections from this list!

In the mood for some goal setting? Check out this post about how to create a vision plan for the future.

The post 30 Journal Prompts for End of the Year Reflection appeared first on The Blissful Mind.

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We will remember this year for the rest of our lives. We will tell people decades from now, “This is what I did in 2020. This is who I was. This is what changed.”

A couple weeks ago, I reached out to my email list and asked, “What have been your biggest lessons from 2020?”

Over a thousand people replied, some with multiple pages of thoughts and experiences. The replies hailed from dozens of different countries, from men and women as young as 15 and as old as 84, from people who had one of the greatest years of their lives and people who had one of the worst.

After spending the greater part of a week combing through the emails, some major themes emerged. I’ve condensed those themes into the 10 practical takeaways below.


You Only Really Know Who You Are When Everything Is Taken From You

A year ago, if you told me that my favorite restaurants, half my friends and my crossfit gym would be taken from me, I would have freaked out. But not only do I not miss them, I think I might actually be happier without them.

Andrew

In my book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, I wrote that it’s only by losing something that you can determine how much you value it. Therefore, the best strategy for determining what truly matters to you is by cutting things out of your life, then seeing what you miss and what you don’t.

Early in the year, I wrote that the pandemic was about to offer an excellent opportunity for all of us to experiment with this. Whether we wanted it or not, we were about to lose access to a lot of activities, events, hobbies, and friendships that we were accustomed to having whenever we wanted. At the time, I predicted that many people would be surprised by both who/what they missed, and who/what they did not miss.

This experience was, by far, the single most common experience reported. Hundreds of people said that they didn’t miss their work, hobbies, or favorite events. Some even discovered they didn’t miss many of their friends and family. Many reported that much of what they spent their lives doing pre-pandemic was not who they actually wanted to be. Some made the startling discovery that they hadn’t really known who they were!

As one young reader said, “I finally learned what my hobbies are. I spent so much time focusing on school before that I never really thought about who I am outside of the school setting.”

A woman from the Netherlands had a similar discovery: “The thing I learned this year is how much I have been going against my nature all my life. I have always suspected it, but now I fully understand how much of an introvert I am. When everything got cancelled, I realized I had been burning up socially for years. In lockdown my friends were suffering. They just wanted to go out, but couldn’t. And I… was fine?”

This discovery was common. People who thought they were extroverted realized they were introverted. People who believed they were introverts discovered they were actually quite extroverted. In both cases, people realized that much of what they thought was their personality was merely molded by social pressures.

One young man said, “I always thought I was okay being alone, but this pandemic showed me how much I need people around me. It’s actually bugging me how lonely I feel, even when I’m able to talk to people every day. I had never realized how needy I could be.”

Armor meme - lessons from 2020

But perhaps the biggest effect of no longer having a full schedule of activities to distract people from themselves was how many came to the realization that for many years they had been avoiding some ugly shit in their own lives.

As one reader put it, “I have spent years running from addressing depressive and anxious symptoms. When there were no social distractions or trips to plan, there was nowhere to hide from myself.”

Another said he discovered that he had probably been a highly-functioning alcoholic for many years, but it was only in isolation in the spring that he was forced to accept that his drinking wasn’t just a social activity, it was a real problem.

And a number of readers were forced to confront the fact that they were not happy in their marriages for the first time.

This theme of self-discovery will continue to surface throughout this article and play a part in many of the other lessons. Some of these realizations will be positive and joyous. Others will be dark and upsetting. But, in each case, by stripping away what we took for granted, the challenges of 2020 clarified for people who they actually are.

A Crisis Doesn’t Change People; It Amplifies Who They Already Are

Adversity seems to bring out not necessarily the worst in people, but the essence of people.

Jim

If the elimination of extraneous stuff clarifies who we are to ourselves, then it only makes sense that it would clarify who we are to others as well.

“Adversity seems to bring out not necessarily the worst in people, but the essence of people. In my months working in retail through the pandemic, I’ve noticed my cranky customers get even meaner. The pleasant customers have gotten more friendly, understanding and compassionate towards our challenges. The generous ones have been leaving even bigger tips than before this whole thing started. The creative, optimistic business owners on my block have gotten more creative to survive while the businesses that were already failing have chosen to blame everyone else for their failing business.”

— Jim

If you’re a bad friend and not generous with your time or energy, there’s no more hiding behind working long hours or endless business trips. If you’re a shady, shifty fucker, there are no more excuses to cover up your duplicitous behavior.

One reader commented that the pandemic brought out “the factory default settings” of everyone. The paranoid became more paranoid. The needy became more needy. The anxious became more anxious and the optimistic became more optimistic.

I found this true in my own life. I have a tendency to be a workaholic and a bit depressive. Throughout the pandemic, I have battled through weeks of depressive symptoms, usually by inspiring and distracting myself with work.

Well, it was about mid-November when I realized that I hadn’t taken a full weekend off in over eight months. I was exhausted, burnt out, and miserable. I’ve since had to force myself to slow down a bit.

That amplification of our neuroses has created a “it got worse before it got better” dynamic for a lot of people. Early on, they discovered a lot of stuff they had been covering up for years. But as the months wore on, they were forced to confront and deal with their issues.

“The pandemic brought me to my recovery,” one reader said. “I started therapy twice a week, twelve step meetings, acupuncture, physical therapy for my back injury (no known cause, I believe it to be a trauma response)—after all that, I finally, after 37 years, was able to identify as a trauma survivor and then the healing began. It wasn’t pretty.”

The Little Things Are the Most Important

Myself, and my patients (friends and family also) have learnt and re-learnt that when all you have are the little things, the little things take on huge significance.

Lynette

One way I like to think about pandemic life is that it’s kind of like a science experiment. You don’t really know how things affect you until you can isolate them enough to see their full effects.

For example, I never realized how awful I felt for days after drinking alcohol, even if I only drank a little. The reason I never realized it before is probably because there were six other things in my life that were making me feel awful and tired too, so I was never able to isolate the effect alcohol has on me. But sitting at home all week, doing nothing, sleeping as much as I wanted, it soon became apparent that just a couple glasses of whiskey go a long way to wrecking my energy.

A nice cup of 2020 meme

I had similar realizations around staying up late, excessive amounts of video games, having regular check-ins with family members, and going outside for walks and getting sunlight. All affected my mood and energy much more than I suspected… which makes me wonder exactly how exhausted I must have been for pretty much all of my adult life.

Many readers had similar experiences this year. An Egyptian reader put it very well when he said his biggest lesson from 2020 was that, “mundane decisions are underrated.” Something as simple as going to bed late one night can impact everything you do for the next two or three days, potentially causing a ripple effect through your life. You are tired and cranky so you skip the Zoom meeting you were scheduled for. But that Zoom meeting could have led to another business deal which you now did not get. And the lack of that business deal causes budget problems for your company three months from now.

That may sound dramatic, but I have developed a much greater respect for the downstream effects of small, simple choices. There’s a famous study that found that judges give harsher sentences to criminals if they hadn’t eaten and were hungry. Having my day basically be the same every day for nine months straight, it’s much easier to notice how these slight shifts affect me, my mood, and my energy.

That is partly why, at the beginning of the year, I preached routine and ritual. With less going on in our lives, the more the small things mattered. As one reader put it, “This year has taught me that ritual is the antidote to chaos. Small rituals, when practiced daily, give a sense of order to the mind.”

When all of this is over, I hope to continue some of my basic routines that I’ve adopted this year, simply because they make me a healthier, more sane, individual. I imagine many people feel the same.

The Great Social Filter

Ironically, this social distancing thing is great for weeding out useless relationships.

Erica

Nothing like adding a dimension of risk to social interactions to quickly determine who is worth giving a fuck about and who is not. This experience was so common that I decided to name it, “The Great Social Filter.”

“Ironically, this social distancing thing is great for weeding out useless relationships. I’ve gotten so much closer to certain friends and let go of others that I now realize were very superficial. What’s more, people I didn’t think I had made much of an impression on came back around and wanted to talk, which in turn sparked greater, deeper, more meaningful conversations.”

– Erica

The Great Social Filter is as simple as an unconscious risk/reward calculation: “Is this person worth the probability that we get COVID and something horrible happens?”

Interestingly, the Great Social Filter hit two groups the hardest, for completely opposite reasons: young people and old people.

Young people had the disconcerting realization that most of the people they considered “friends” were really nothing more than glorified acquaintances. Old people isolated themselves far more because of the greater danger posed by the virus. In the end, both groups ended up feeling isolated.

But perhaps the most troubled readers were not those who lost friendships, but rather those who lost romantic relationships or marriages. One reader’s email is representative of many who had similar stories:

“Without all the distractions of normal days, my husband and I learned we no longer knew one another and actually no longer liked one another. It was a perfect time for zoom counseling sessions, which actually pointed out it wasn’t necessarily that we didn’t like each other, but we no longer knew ourselves and no longer liked our own selves.”

Some readers used these epiphanies as an opportunity to repair their family relationships. Others watched them slowly fail, adding even more pain to the steaming shit-heap known as 2020 (more on those people further down).

Perhaps the greatest side effect of The Great Social Filter though is a renewed appreciation for friends and loved ones who managed to get through. Literally hundreds of readers expressed gratitude for renewed closeness with family members and old friendships. Many also shared the joyous realization that they loved their partners even more after spending all-day, every day with them for nine months. It reaffirmed to many that they chose who to be with well.

This dual realization about the significance (or insignificance) of people in one’s life actually leads us into the next lesson…

Most Things Are Both Good and Bad at the Same Time

If you only see the bad, then you are missing the good and also if you only see the good, you are missing the bad (and the chance to grow).

Melissa

Long-time readers know that one of the dead horses that I’ve beaten for years is that it’s often impossible to know if an experience is actually good/bad for us. Our judgments on things that are bad tend to be very short-term and emotionally driven. This is especially true in the age of social media, where the slightest amount of hurt, offense, or setback is perceived as some great oppression.

“The one lesson that keeps coming back to me this year is how something can be both good and bad. If you only see the bad, then you are missing the good and also if you only see the good, you are missing the bad (and the chance to grow). I was laid off from my job of 19 years this summer. It’s bad that I don’t have a job, bad that I went through a bit of an identity crisis, but also good that I went through an identity crisis and good that I can be home to help my kids through this shitshow of online school.”

– Melissa

Everything happens for a reason meme - lessons from 2020

Dozens of readers emailed me with stories about losing their jobs, their houses, their relationships, and even losing family members to COVID-19. In most of these emails, the people, while extremely upset and hurt, also noted silver linings to their suffering. It brought their families closer. It gave them a chance to reconnect with their kids. It gave them a way out of a destructive marriage. It gave them an opportunity to rethink what they wanted to do with their lives. It showed them who really loved them for who they were and who didn’t.

There continues to be hidden value in suffering and I will continue beating that dead horse.

Interestingly, a lot of people reported that this realization of the double-sidedness of events changed how they see the world and its problems, as well.

One reader said, “I learned things are never black and white no matter how hard someone tries to convince you they are.” Another reported how she used to believe in conspiracy theories, but after seeing government after government botch fundamental and basic actions against the pandemic, it became impossible for her to ignore the rampant incompetence in human organizations.

By Slowing Down, Everything Somehow Speeds Up

In spite of all the doom and gloom that the pundits and press have been saying about the boringness of staying home with my husband, I’ve advanced my cooking, read and really enjoyed the boring times. Maybe I was boring all along and trying to be “active” to fit in. I’ve found the lack of fast pace to be good for my attitude.

Stephanie

Another consistent theme of the emails was the appreciation of “slowing down,” readers taking their time, enjoying the boringness of their lives. One reader said she “found something deeply gratifying about delaying my own gratification in the interest of keeping others safe and healthy.”

Another said, “I’ve actually found that by doing less with my days, I enjoy and appreciate each one of those things more.”

This “slowing down” of life has been endlessly fascinating for me this year, especially in how it relates to perceived time. Everyone I speak to about 2020 says that it feels as though the year flew by. Remember the Australian bushfires? Remember Kobe Bryant dying? That feels like eons ago.

There’s something about a lack of activity that makes time feel compressed and shortened, which is completely counterintuitive. A month goes by in what feels like a week. Yet, we look back and what happened a month ago feels like a year ago. What the fuck, brain?

We Consistently Underestimate Our Resilience and Adaptability

I’ve learned that I’m much stronger than I thought. I have been able to maintain love and happiness, through a pandemic, political insanity, cancer, job changes, and whatever the world is becoming.

Paul

A large percentage of the emails struck a similar chord—“I thought I would never be able to get through it… yet, somehow I did.” Rather than pontificate, I’ll just let some readers speak for themselves.

“The pandemic has not been kind to me, to be honest. I had a mental breakdown in March, lost my job in June, moved twice in the past four months, slept on sofas and in moldy rooms, was disappointed by friends and lovers. Despite all this, I have learned that I am more resilient than I ever thought.

“This has been the hardest year of my life, bar none. I used to think that I couldn’t live without my friends, my social life or a steady paycheck. Now I’ve learned I can survive without any of them.” 

Many years ago, after suffering through a few difficult and isolated months of my own, I wrote an article about this: that in hardship, we are often surprised to discover that most of what we need is already within ourselves.

But it wasn’t just the adaptability of individuals that was surprising, many were surprised (and impressed) at how quickly society adapted itself to the new realities.

“I’ve learned we are fundamentally adaptable as a species and as a society. After a few months, what feels alien is the way things used to be. Watching some TV show where people don’t wear masks now dates the show just like gym pants or shoulder pads do. ‘New normal’ is a very overused term, but I think it conveys well the speed at which something odd becomes the only non-odd thing.” 
“I hate to admit this but back in March I was scared and thought we were witnessing the end of the world. I thought nothing was ever going to be the same again. I’m still surprised that there somehow hasn’t been widespread anarchy. I think I really underestimated the resilience of people and society in general.” 

And on an optimistic note, one reader sent:

“I’m impressed how in a crisis the world works together. I worked in Pharma R&D most of my career and never thought I’d see the collaboration that I saw with the vaccine work.”

Fear Is Dangerous

I learned that fear drives people to be highly selfish, capable of only thinking of themselves, their own health and convenience.

Thomas

A number of readers commented on the fear that pervaded public discourse this year and how we reacted to it as a culture. It was not pretty.

A reader named Jean described it well:

“Fear is not simply an emotion, it is dangerous. I have often excused the behaviors of others in crisis as “just being afraid” and preached compassion, but as things got more and more intense you can see how very dangerous and destructive fear can be. It can override our sense of altruism and soon enough it is like rats fleeing a sinking ship, panicked and harming each other. Therefore it’s not enough to simply recognize/acknowledge/forgive our fear, we must find ways to crush it by finding reassurance and a sense of security, and giving others a sense of security in any way they need it. Having strong cohesive leadership is essential, for instance.” 

Interestingly, disgust for political leadership was common across people from nearly every country I heard from. Whether it was poor policy response or botched execution of plans or politicians leveraging fear and division for political gain, everyone outside of a handful of countries in the Pacific seemed pretty disillusioned.

Worst month of 2020 meme

I, like many people, had a faint hope back in March that having a common cause would unite people across political divisions. Apparently, it simply did the opposite in most places.

Part of this is because of how fear affects our ability to reason and see commonality. One reader summarized it thus: “Fear changes our perspective more than we realise. Fear basically forces us to not think. We humans usually have assumptions about everything, so the fear usually forces us to believe in those assumptions without much thinking. The solution which I found is to have the courage to accept even the worst of things which could happen.”

What the reader is referring to is something that is sometimes referred to as, “negative visualization,” a practice that originated with the Stoics. The idea of negative visualization is to actually imagine the worst case scenario and challenge yourself to mentally prepare for it and become comfortable with it. This comfort will then eliminate or at least drastically reduce the emotional reaction to many of your fears.

Always Be Financially Prepared

Living within your means is not a ‘nice goal’ to have—it is a must. Those that do not are in serious shit immediately when things go sideways.

Sandra

It’s funny, every time I crowdsource an advice article like this, lots of people bring up money. When I asked older people for advice for someone in their 30s, the number one piece of advice was to get debt-free and save for retirement. When I asked hundreds of happily married couples for marriage advice, over and over again, they brought up the importance of being aligned about money (and being able to trust your partner with saving and spending).

Well, the streak continues. Hundreds of readers chimed in with the tried and true advice to always save for a rainy day:

“Thank god I’m conservative with money. I’ve never felt more justified in my spending habits than I was this year. I’ve always lived below my means and this year, as soon as I lost my job, I knew I had enough tucked away to wait it out. I can’t imagine how many nights of sleep I would have lost if I hadn’t been so uptight about money for the past five years.” 

Of course, there were many readers on the other side of this equation:

“I learned to be more careful in my spending. That new phone can wait. Those new clothes can wait. I’ve never been good at saving my money and this year really punished me for it. I will never make that mistake again.”

It’s often trendy in my line of work to tell people that money doesn’t bring happiness. Well, that may be true, but a lack of money can sure bring a lot of unhappiness. If you’ve always been lax in your financial habits, hopefully this year was a wake-up call.

You Have No Excuse to Not Be Who You Want to Be

“What have I learned from 2020? That we do what we do. That there’s little point saying, ‘When I’m rich I’m gonna…’ or ‘When I retire I’m gonna…’ Because you won’t. If you’re not doing it now, you won’t do it then. I always kidded myself that if I were locked up for years, I’d get scarily fit and read all the great books of history. Instead, in lockdown, I got fat (well, fatter) and read no more top-notch literature this year than any other year.”

– Steve

People love to bitch and moan that they don’t have enough time. In most cases, I’ve found that it’s rarely a problem of time, but usually a problem of priorities. People spend hours scrolling through Instagram or an entire weekend binge-watching Netflix and then complain they don’t have the time to take that online course or or go to the gym.

In many cases, removing the time constraints exposed people them to this issue—that they were the problem all along.

In other cases, it made people more aware of Parkinson’s Law—that a task will shrink or expand to fit the time allotted to it. As a reader named Brad put it:

“Having more time on my hands didn’t make me more productive… unless I chose to be. It’s so easy to say ‘If only I had more time I would…’ but the reality of that is quite different. Often, I find the less free time I have, the more productive I get and the further progress I make on my goals. So I learned to schedule more into my day instead of less.” 

I can certainly relate to this lesson. In prior years, I had so many meetings, calls, business trips, and deadlines, it was never a question of what I needed to be doing on any given day. But when lockdown started and all of those meetings and trips were suddenly cancelled, I quickly found myself floundering and wasting many an afternoon without much sense of what I should be doing instead.

It took a few weeks, but I solved that problem the same way Brad did: I got insane about scheduling. Even if it was dumb stuff like, “walk outside for thirty minutes at 2PM; check email at 3PM.” I created daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly to-do lists for myself. For the first time in my life, I developed routines around writing, exercise, and sleep.

As obnoxious as I find schedules and routines, these saved my ass this year. And as horrified as I am by my newfound predictability, I will probably be keeping many of these routines post-pandemic.

Like any other struggle in life, you can dictate how you will live in the pandemic, or you can let the pandemic dictate to you. Just because you’re confined to your apartment doesn’t mean you don’t still have complete control over how you spend your time and grow as a person. Just because your favorite bar is closed doesn’t mean you are limited in your social interactions.

It simply means you must be willing to take responsibility for adapting to the circumstances. I feel as though many people forgot this year that freedom mostly does not reside outside of ourselves, but rather it resides within our own minds.

I will end this piece with one of the more inspiring emails I received—a perfect example that no matter what challenges we face in the world, our fate is ultimately up to ourselves.

“Life is what you make it. During the pandemic, at the end of the first UK lockdown, I moved to a different country, started my dream job and I am now expecting my first child. This is the last year I thought that all of these things would happen but I never lost hope. This pandemic shone a light on how precious life is and how lucky some of us are, my gratitude completely took over a lot of fears that I had previously had. Of course along the way I still shit my pants but it all led to great things happening. I feel free strangely at a time that we have the least freedom. I know a lot of terrible things have happened this year even to myself but perspective can go a long way.”

– Londie

Cover image by Isaac Quesada on Unsplash

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anyone else like this as much as me

Before you say “good riddance!” to 2020, slow down and listen up. This is important.

I have some big news to share that’ll help you have more clarity, confidence, resilience, and success in the new year.

It has a lot to do with what my mom used to tell me as a little girl growing up in Jersey. 

“Marie, nothing in life is that complicated,” she’d say from halfway under the sink as she fixed a leak. “You can do whatever you set your mind to if you roll up your sleeves. Everything is figureoutable.”

I talk about this a lot. Everything is figureoutable was the theme of my Oprah talk and the title of my #1 NY Times Bestseller. Why do I keep harping on about it?


You are a one-time mega event in the universe. Don’t waste it.
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Because if you’re having trouble solving a problem or reaching a dream, the problem isn’t you. And it’s not the dumpster fire of 2020, either — truly. It’s that you haven’t yet installed this one belief that changes everything.

So here’s the big, exciting news:

The paperback edition of my bestselling book, Everything is Figureoutable, just launched today!

It’s hard to believe that one year ago, my team and I were in New York City doing the book launch to end all book launches. We had a massive event in NYC that kicked off a world tour with in-person gatherings around the globe. How the world has changed.

The Paperback Cover Reveal: New Look, Same Unstoppable Results

When we first released Everything is Figureoutable, I wanted the cover to be powerful, fresh, and exciting.

It took hundreds of hours collaborating with my team and the publisher to create the hardcover design you know and love. We even released a behind-the-scenes MarieTV all about the design process.

When it came to launching the paperback, we had a choice. 

Stick to the original? Or create a whole new design?

You know me — I couldn’t resist a challenge, and I’m thrilled with the result.

Now, you may know that the words “everything is figureoutable” came from my mother’s little Tropicana orange radio. As a little girl, I knew I could find her somewhere around the house by listening for the tinny sound coming from that radio.

This radio became a symbol for me — that everything really is figureoutable — and, since the launch of this book, thousands of you have adopted it as a symbol for yourselves.

This past year I’ve needed the “everything is figureoutable mantra more than ever. Even as I write this, I’m still recovering from an emergency hysterectomy that I definitely didn’t see coming.

But you know what this year of uncertainty, crisis, and change has taught me? What my team, our community, and YOU have shown me again and again?

That everything really is figureoutable — no matter what the circumstances.

To celebrate the life-changing impact of this book, we’re releasing a brand new cover design for the paperback (check it out below). Plus, you’ll get to read stories from folks who’ve used these three words to transform every aspect of their lives. Yes, even during a global pandemic.

I’m grateful I got this book out into the world in time to help people navigate the-year-that-never-ends.

And I’m excited to introduce it to you again in its whole new form.

Featuring, of course, my mom’s orange radio.

You can listen to an excerpt right now on MarieTV and The Marie Forleo Podcast.

Proof That Everything is Figureoutable (Even in 2020 & Beyond)

Want to test human resilience, creativity, courage, and fortitude? How about a pandemic, a social revolution, a harrowing election, and a stacking of personal loss, crisis, economic devastation, and illness? That’ll about do it — thanks 2020, you can stop now.

While I’m eager to welcome 2021, I’m also deeply grateful for getting Everything is Figureoutable out into the world when we did.

Over the past year, we’ve heard from SO many folks who’ve not just read the book, but DONE the book and created extraordinary results in the process. Read these three letters to inspire you to use the figureoutable mindset to create the life you want.

Hi Marie,
I wanted to thank you for your leadership and wisdom. I read your book at the start of this pandemic (back in April, which feels like a century ago now!) and it helped me completely transform my life.

Pre-Covid, I was a “starving artist”, working in a restaurant at night and auditioning for musicals during the day. When all the restaurants in NYC shut down, I knew it was my chance to get out of the restaurant industry for good, and find something else to do for money that would use my innovative creativity and storytelling skills. 

Since April, I have started a thriving digital marketing business, and I’ve picked up 2 part-time jobs — one Creative Director position and one Marketing Assistant position. I cannot believe that in the span of 5 months (and in the middle of a pandemic!) I would be able to find work that I am passionate about.

Thank you so much for all your wisdom and for kickstarting the idea that I could figure out anything if I set my mind to it. I feel like it was fate that I stumbled upon your book when I did.
~Sarah, New York

You don’t have to figure everything out at the same time. This next letter from Ellen shows how figuring out the small stuff first builds momentum to achieve your big dreams and pass on a legacy.

One day my car tire was nearly flat and I had no clue what to do. I remembered Marie’s mantra and Googled my car model and tire air pressure at the gas station and sorted out my flat tire in two minutes. This gave me proof and confidence that everything IS figureoutable. 

I’ve since gone on to get a well paying job and run my own business on the side. I have a range of power tools and my very own toolbox to flip a new four-bedroom house by the sea in Ireland. I passed Marie’s mantra on through word and action to my four children. Three of them have flown the coop and are studying law, accountancy, and psychology. They are living and working independently from me without a single loan. Marie’s mantra is their mantra as well as mine and I know they’ll pass it on to their children in the future.
~ Ellen, Ireland

And then there’s Bradford, who’s story makes me cry and cheer every time I read it.

I just thought I’d share with all y’all my own story of “figureoutable”… I am coming off a 7-year life stint that began with my mom coming down with Alzheimer’s. One day I got a call from my dad who let me know that he had to have my mom picked up and sent to the hospital, at which point we were told she’d never be able to go home again. We knew this day was going to inevitably come but we were devastated. We also had NO IDEA how to handle any of what was happening — or what was to come. 

Long story short, in the throes of heartbreak, we got my mom placed into a good memory care facility and began the process of figuring out the legal and financial matters. Again, with NO CLUE how any of this worked or how it would all come together. Then I had to pack up and sell our family home, move my dad into a new place, get him settled, find out within 6 months of moving in that HE had Alzheimer’s too (!!?!!), sell his new place, move him up to live near me so I could be his caregiver (while working a full-time job), eventually find him a memory care facility, plan their funeral arrangements, and — within the past year — say goodbye to both of them as they passed away. I had no fucking idea going into any of this but, in the end, it was indeed, figureoutable.

So, on the heels of all of that and with a new and deeply profound appreciation for the preciousness of life, I am now wrapping up my job (with healthy savings in the bank, mind you) to start off on a new life journey as an artist. Do I know exactly how I’ll get there? Not really. But now — more than EVER — I know that I’ll figure it out. And I’m thrilled to have your insights and inspiration for my journey into this new chapter.
~Bradford Crowder

Beautiful, right?

This is why I wrote Everything is Figureoutable. The exercises in this book retrain your brain to think more creatively and positively, even in the face of the most horrific setbacks.

It won’t always be easy. Or straightforward. But once you’ve ingrained this belief into your operating system, the inevitable obstacles, pain, devastation, and challenges that come with life won’t be any match for your inner resolve, creativity, and strength. 

Your Future Is Figureoutable

In the comments below, let me know one thing you most want to figure out in 2021. Do you want to sleep train your infant? Start a photography business? Tackle the climate crisis? Sing karaoke? It’s all fair game. Share your dream below — you never know when it might inspire someone else to do the same.

And, if you haven’t already, grab your paperback copy of Everything is Figureoutable.

Remember — no matter what happened in 2020 or what you’ll face in the new year — you have what it takes to figure anything out and become the person you’re meant to be.

XO

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