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Fixing Your External by Changing Your Internal

with Michael Bernoff



with guest Michael Bernoff #MakingBank S4E34

None of us are perfect. At some point, we all want to change something about our lives, or many things. If this feeling persists and gets worse it can spiral into depression, anxiety, or even physical symptoms.

Maybe we have hit the end of our patience with a bully at school, or our jobs have seemingly sucked all our positive energy from us, or the love just isn’t there in our relationship anymore. We all know the feeling of something external bringing us down, and not being able to change it.

By racking our brains trying to figure out how to change the world around us, we add stress, lose energy, and gain a feeling of being ineffectual. Most of the time, attempting to change things outside of ourselves is a futile effort that only leads to frustration.

By turning inward, however, we focus on the things that we actually have full autonomy over, and in doing so we can begin to change our world for the better. The next time you find yourself in a situation you wish to change, try the following steps to adjust your internal world accordingly, and you may be surprised to see those changes reflected in the world around you.

  1. Is your identity holding you back?

Are you trying to get out of a pattern of failure? Of not being rich enough, not being smart enough, not being _____ enough? Maybe the problem isn’t that you’re not enough, maybe it’s simply that you believe you’re not enough.

By seeing yourself as someone who can’t make the amount of money you want, or have the freedom you want, you can actually start to behave in a manner that reinforces that self image. You see yourself as the guy who can’t make money flipping homes, and so it becomes easier to see negative outcomes as inevitable, and follow through with them. If it’s all you know, you can start to follow a pattern without realizing what you’re doing.

This can start to change quickly if you break through and have success, but until that happens, the best tool in your toolkit is visualization. See yourself making that first 100k. Visualize what it will look like to walk into your home and tell your partner you’re taking them out the fanciest restaurant in town to celebrate. Imagine something you’ll buy for yourself.

If you do this everyday eventually your brain will begin to see it as real, and your identity will slowly change over time. Once you see yourself as a winner, your external habits will follow suit.

2. Depression & Anxiety

A staggering number of people suffer from mental health related issues today, and the numbers appear to be rising. Part of this is due to the beginning of destigmatizing these conditions, and part is due to more thoroughly keeping track of cases, but there’s no denying it: the modern world has a problem with mental health.

If you are suffering from either of these conditions, or something more serious like bipolar disorder, it is absolutely essential to address these areas before trying to fix anything external. They are simply too much to work through and can make any real progress nearly impossible.

Seek therapy, try meditation, learn from others who have gone through what you’ve gone through. There is still a lot to be understood about mental health issues, but by simply making the choice to try to improve and following through on it, you will be able to begin the process of getting better, which alone can help lessen your symptoms.

3. Healthy living

The best way to improve your mental health may surprise you: improve your physical health. Studies have consistently proven that exercising, eating healthy and sleeping right are the most important ingredients to a happy, functioning life.

Think about children. When we see kids throwing a temper tantrum, we often realize that it’s directly related to not having eaten recently or not having slept enough. Why would adult temper be different? How many times have you been in a terrible mood all day, only to see it dissipate when you sat down for a meal?

Taking care of yourself is an imperative if you want to be able to enjoy life. Exercising releases endorphins that regulate our mood. Eating right makes our entire bodies function more efficiently, which has a big impact on energy and mental health. Sleeping right restores us and leaves us mentally fresh. Without all 3 of these things we’re at a huge disadvantage when it comes to being happy and creating the life around us that we want.

4. Acceptance

Ironically, one of the most important things to do if you want to improve your circumstances is to stop trying to change them at all. You need to accept things as they are before they can ever get better. You can’t control the world, you can only control your reaction to it. But by doing so and maintaining the right perspective, the circumstances around you will in fact start to change.

Want a better relationship? Accept your partner as they are, instead focusing on what you can do in order to help them feel happy and secure. Want to make more money? First learn how to be happy with what you have. Feelings of gratitude make us happier, more relaxed people, and that type of mentality may give you the space to see things differently and become more creative and productive at work.

Being at peace with the world around you, you will make better decisions that are in line with your spirit and allow you to be happy. People who are angry at the world or sad all the time attract those energies, compounding on each other and worsening the situation. Happy people light up rooms, improve the world of those around them, and through that they attract better circumstances to themselves.

We all want to live better lives, but sometimes learning how to do so requires a different perspective. Our outer worlds mirror our inner worlds in one way or another, so if you truly want to improve what you see around you, you need to maintain focus on that which is within you.