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5 Ways To Influence the External Economy With Internal Decisions

Every expert in America agrees that our economy is under serious strain. We even hear speculation that the U.S. is headed for another Great Depression.

The government bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will cost taxpayers $5.3 trillion. The $700 billion bailout of other notable financial firms is a Band-aid approach to a gaping-wound quandary.

So what is the long-term solution? Does the current crisis represent the end of America as we know it?

What can you do to contribute to a more secure and prosperous economy?

Is it possible for you to prosper in economic downturns?

The first step to identifying solutions is to accurately diagnose the problem. While the reasons are diverse, our current predicament is the product of three primary factors on three different levels:

  1. The government manipulates the economy with the money supply, creating artificial demand and warping natural market forces.
  2. Corporations have been guided by shortsighted greed.
  3. The average American consumes more than they produce.

Since corporate behavior and government policy represent individual action, the only long-term solution to America’s economic woes is for individuals to be the change they wish to see in the world; to focus more on their internal economy than on the external economy.

Internal v. External Economy

The external economy represents everything outside of you: GDP, the Federal Reserve, international trade, supply and demand, manufacturing, etc.

Your internal economy is the sum total of the value you offer to others minus the factors that limit your production. It is your human life value—your knowledge, skills, abilities, relationships, confidence, etc.

It is what happens within you that determines your material and spiritual prosperity, or lack thereof.

Our pressing crisis hasn’t happened in a vacuum; it’s the result of a steady shift in culture, based on personal, internal decisions.

We can blame the government and corporations all we want, but government agents and corporate executives are common Americans like you and I, doing common things.

There’s little you and I can do to influence government policy during this crisis, but there’s an infinite number of things we can do to ensure security and prosperity regardless of what happens in the external economy.

Do you want to learn and grow, or complain and wallow in the misery? If you choose the former, then it’s time to grow your internal economy.

But how, exactly, is this done? Your personal economy will be strengthened and vitalized by living the following five principles:

1. Entitlement is the enemy of prosperity.

Stop waiting for someone else to solve your problems and give you economic security.

Contrary to New Deal lies and cradle-to-the-grave propaganda, the only things you’re entitled to are life, liberty, private property, and the pursuit of happiness.

The government owes you nothing but the protection of your unalienable rights. Corporations can give and take benefits as they please.

Your suffering during hard economic times will be directly proportionate to the degree to which you feel entitled to “security” and benefits from any person or institution.

You’re entitled to the fruits of your own labor and ingenuity—nothing more or less.

Don’t abdicate your responsibility to prosper to funds that you don’t understand, investments that you can’t control and that are not collateralized, and managers that you don’t know.

Take full responsibility for your money and your life.

2. Produce more than you consume.

The average American—while complaining about the federal budget deficit—spends more than $1.20 for every dollar that he or she earns. Contrary to the crippling myth that “consumer spending drives the economy,” production drives the economy.

Production—creating value for others in a way that they compensate you for it—is what gives any individual or entity the ability to consume.

You can’t control government spending. But you can control your own.

  • Spend less than you earn.
  • Never, ever borrow to consume.
  • Pay off consumer debt as fast as you are able.
  • Cut up your credit cards if that’s what it takes.
  • Increase your production through education, better marketing, a career change, etc.
  • Save and invest ten percent of your income.

Do whatever it takes to ensure that your home economy produces more than it consumes; this is the best way to fight inflation.

3. Value creation comes before desire fulfillment.

Who has more money—you, or other people? Obviously, other people.

How can you get others to give you money? By providing something to them that they value more than their money.

Greed and selfishness are at the basis of so many of our current problems. The wise understand that they can only get what they want by first focusing on what other people want.

Ask yourself:

  • What do you have to offer that other people want?
  • What suffering exists in the world that you have the ability to alleviate?
  • What do other people need and how can you provide it efficiently?

Dollars follow value—creating value for others is the only legitimate way to meet your own needs.

4. Integrity is worth its weight in gold.

Corporate executives are being caught in lies like flies to honey. But what about you? Are you going to unfairly take advantage of others in the name of “Everyone else is doing it?”

Or will you take the road less traveled and be a person of your word, a person who others can trust in and rely upon? Does your private life reflect your core values?

When times are hard, people look for stability. Integrity provides stability of character, drawing others toward you.

Integrity alone is a magnetic marketing tool and will boost your ability to influence and serve others, and therefore profit in spite of crises.

5. Find and live your Soul Purpose.

Soul Purpose is your unique set of talents, abilities, values, and passions applied productively and effectively, making tremendous impact upon the world and bringing the highest levels of joy and fulfillment to you and everyone you touch.

You were born for something wonderful. Are you doing it?

Do you love to get up every morning? Are you energized by your career? Does it continually stretch you to achieve your fullest potential? Or is it time for you to choose something different?

Prosperity is much more than dollars, investment accounts, and toys; it’s the internal joy that you experience by applying your best work to pressing problems.

Soul Purpose is the best long-term investment. Find what you were born to do and do it—your prosperity will increase exponentially.

Rise to the Occasion

The problems we face are big—which means that there’s now more opportunity than ever to create value by alleviating suffering.

Big problems require bigger solutions, and bigger solutions pay bigger dividends.

The positive side of the financial meltdown is increased awareness; there is now enough pain for us to course-correct and overcome the economic myths of the last century.

The solution isn’t to elect new leaders any more than changing drivers on a broken car makes the car run better.

The solution is for common Americans to reform the economy from the inside out by:

  1. Eliminating the entitlement mentality
  2. Producing more than we consume
  3. Creating value for others
  4. Developing impeccable integrity
  5. Living Soul Purpose

If you don’t know what to invest in—especially during hard economic times—your best bet is to invest in yourself through education.

After all, the external economy is nothing but a reflection of the aggregate of internal economies.


Garrett Gunderson is an entrepreneur, financial coach, the founder of Freedom FastTrack, and the primary author of the New York Times bestseller Killing Sacred Cows: Overcoming the Financial Myths that are Destroying Your Prosperity.

Garrett loves inspiring others to turn their potential into production. He has dedicated his life to living and teaching a unique concept known as Soul Purpose that reveals how anyone can live a more prosperous and rewarding life.

As a finance and business productivity coach, Garrett instructs both large and small groups of business owners and financial service professionals nationwide.

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