Break Free from Unconscious Habits: Recognize that much of our decision-making is influenced by our unconscious mind as creatures of habit. Surprisingly, our unconscious mind takes control around 95% of the time, causing us to navigate life on autopilot. It obstructs our genuine intentions and undermines the significance of our aspirations, leading us to mistakenly believe that self-destructive behaviors are actually self-protective. Challenge automatic behaviors that contribute to financial stress. Embrace financial uncertainty with courage, as the ego tends to fear self-honesty. Remember, you can never rise above your opinion of yourself. Trade your default psychology for an empowering one. Be conscious of your spending patterns, identify areas where positive changes can be made, and actively choose financial behaviors that align with your goals.
With all that’s going on in our country, our economy, the world, and on social media, it feels like so many of us are under a great deal of stress. A time of high inflation, a recession, or unemployment, can be particularly stress-inducing. We know chronic stress can be as unhealthy as smoking a quarter of a pack a day. What are stress management strategies that people use to become “Stress-Proof? What are some great tweaks, hacks, and tips that help reduce or even eliminate financial stress? In this interview series, we are talking to authors, business leaders, and financial experts, who can share their strategies for reducing or eliminating financial stress. As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Peter Sage.
Peter is an international serial entrepreneur and subject matter expert in human behavior and self mastery. His unique way of looking at the world has earned him the distinguished Brand Laureate Award for extraordinary individuals alongside previous winners who include Nelson Mandela, Steve Jobs and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to know how you got from “there to here.” Inspire us with your backstory!
From my childhood to becoming a successful entrepreneur, everything I experienced shaped who I am today. I learned important lessons and values that still guide me. As a curious kid, I loved trying new things and taking on challenges. Whether it was reading, playing with friends, or playing sports, those moments taught me the importance of finding your why, working hard, not giving up, and being adaptable.
I used to help my dad at his scrap yard, but the money wasn’t great. I also had to pay my mom some money as I lived with my parents. I started wondering what I wanted to do with my life. So, I decided to tell my dad that I was leaving. I had a strong belief back then, which I still hold today: if you take a big leap, you just have to figure it out as you go. And for me, that was enough. At that time, I was earning £40 per week. When I finished my last week working for my dad, he gave me my final paycheck. However, I had to give £10 to my mom and pay off a £10 debt to a friend. So, I was left with only £20.
With that money, I started looking for a market where I could invest it. I went to a wholesaler and confidently walked in, acting as if I owned the place. While walking around and taking notes, a manager approached me and asked if I had an account there. I replied, “Not yet.” I told him I was a toy market trader, which wasn’t entirely false since I had plans to become one. I used a few well-known names to sound credible, even though I didn’t know or work with them. I made up a story to explain why I was taking notes. This helped me get a trade card and gave me the green light to pursue my idea.
To choose which toys to buy, I simply asked myself, “If I were a kid, would I want to play with this?” Based on that, I spent £15 on toys. Then, I went to a field in the middle of nowhere, paid £5 as an entry fee (wondering if I would ever see that money again) and set up my toys on a blanket my mom had given me. I didn’t have a proper table like everyone else, but I didn’t let that stop me.
That day turned out to be magical. I sold the £15 worth of toys for £30, doubling my money. I was overjoyed. Since I was living with my parents, my mom gave me a £25 credit the following week to buy more toys. Once again, I paid £5 for the entry fee, securing my spot, and sold £50 worth of toys that day. I kept growing and, after 5–6 weeks, I had enough money to get a market stall. I started doing markets, Sunday events, and toy parties. At the age of 17, people knew me as Pete The Toy Boy.
Just four months after leaving my dad’s business, I celebrated my first £1000 that I had earned on my own terms. The feeling of achieving success instead of just earning money was incredible. That experience taught me a valuable lesson that I carry with me to this day: I can make my own money by using the resources available to me at any given time. I continued on that path and went on to start and run many successful businesses in different industries, such as real estate, finance, and consulting.
What lessons would you share with yourself if you had the opportunity to meet your younger self?
During my youth, I possessed an unquenchable drive and an intense ambition to shape the life I envisioned. But, I also felt a need to prove my worthiness as an entrepreneur and justify my aspirations.
I embraced a mindset that I called “By-Me” mode or Achiever mode, which propelled me into action. I refused to passively observe life, waiting for opportunities to find me. Instead, I immersed myself in possibilities and pushed myself towards my goals. My mantra became “Grab the world by its throat and mold it to fit your desired reality.”
However, the path I chose was not without its challenges. Countless nights were spent pursuing my dreams, sacrificing sleep and comfort, and pouring my heart and soul into the businesses I ran. I vividly recall moments when exhaustion threatened to overpower me, and I found myself on the brink of disaster, drifting off at the wheel.
These moments forced me to question the sustainability of my lifestyle and ask myself, “How long can I continue living this way?” The Achiever mode, or what I came to realize as the “By-Me heart attack lifestyle,” taught me a crucial lesson. I learned the hard way that relentless striving and endless work, devoid of balance, could erode the very core of our existence. I discovered that fulfillment was not solely attained by grinding ourselves to the bone. There was a higher path — a path that didn’t imply living under pressure.
In the world of business, the Achiever mode often leads to increased financial stress and exhaustion. The constant need to control every aspect of our endeavors drains our energy and blocks our success. However, there exists a transformative state called the Flow state or Through Me, which offers a more harmonious alternative.
The Achiever mode, with its relentless pursuit of goals and desire for control, generates a perpetual sense of pressure. We push ourselves to the limit, always yearning for more, and consequently, financial stress becomes a heavy burden we carry. The weight of responsibility and the fear of losing control can be overwhelming.
On the other side, The Flow state, or Through-Me, presents a different path — one where stress metamorphoses into effortless flow. By giving up the need for control, we open ourselves to a more harmonious approach to business and finance.
If I could speak to my younger self, I would emphasize the importance of hard work, but not at the expense of one’s health or relationships. I would advise him to release the urge to control every outcome because once he has dedicated his efforts and passion to the work that ignites his soul, there is no need to fret. We can navigate financial challenges gracefully and adaptably. By letting go of the burden of control, we create room for innovation and inspired action.
None of us are able to experience success without support along the way. Is there a particular person for whom you are grateful because of the support they gave you to grow you from “there to here?” Can you share that story and why you are grateful for them?
I’m pleased to say that Dan Peña, an influential entrepreneur, business coach, and mentor, played a crucial role in shaping my financial education.
I attended one of his events in London over two decades ago, driven by a friend’s recommendation that intrigued me. When he arrived, I couldn’t help but notice his impressive attire and presence. He didn’t just own the room or the hotel; it felt like he owned the entire block. He broke convention by addressing the audience without even saying hello, demanding our attention. His first words hit home, acknowledging a truth we all secretly knew but were afraid to admit: we were living in extreme poverty.
Chaos ensued, and almost half of the attendees left within the first ten minutes. I stayed, and Dan Peña became one of my most influential financial mentors. His unconventional methods inspired me at that time, compelling me to immerse myself in the daunting yet exciting depths of the financial world.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think it might help people?
In November, I’m hosting my legendary Millionaire Business School in Tenerife, Spain. This exclusive event is designed to impart valuable knowledge to people, highlighting the significance of taking risks in building a secure and worry-free financial future. It is important to recognize that success and fulfillment are distinct concepts, and my objective is to ensure that every attendee understands that true success lies in finding fulfillment. Throughout the event, I will be sharing practical business strategies that can be applied across various industries, enabling participants to thrive financially. Also, I will equip them with essential skills required to craft a comprehensive and personalized plan that paves the way for achieving financial freedom.
Ok, thank you for sharing your inspired life. Let’s now talk about stress. How would you define stress?
In my opinion, stress is the result of two things going in opposite directions. One of them is the outer world, and it’s made up of everything from our physical environment, social interactions, economic factors, to external pressures and demands. The other one is the inner world, which represents someone’s personal expectations, desires, needs, values, cultural background, upbringing, and past experiences.
When the outer world behaves differently than what the inner world expects, this misalignment creates a conflict that can trigger negative responses in the body and mind. The body’s stress response is activated, leading to the release of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline.
In the Western world, humans typically have their shelter, food, and survival needs met. So what has led to this chronic stress? Why are so many of us always stressed out?
Paradoxically, while it is true that many people in the Western world have their basic needs met, and we live far better than royalty did one hundred years ago, chronic stress can still be prevalent. Despite the advancements and privileges we enjoy, we often find ourselves facing ongoing stress. The reasons for this chronic stress are multifaceted and can stem from several factors:
Work pressure: Modern work environments can be highly demanding, with long hours, intense competition, and high expectations. The need to meet deadlines, handle excessive workloads, and strive for success can contribute significantly to chronic stress.
Financial concerns: Even though many have their basic needs met, financial pressures can still cause stress. Mortgages, student loans, rising living costs, and the desire to maintain a certain lifestyle or plan for retirement can all contribute to ongoing financial stress.
Technology and information overload: The rapid advancement of technology and constant connectivity can lead to information overload and an inability to disconnect. The constant notifications, emails, and social media updates can create a feeling of overwhelm and contribute to chronic stress.
Social pressures and comparison: Western societies often place a strong emphasis on achievement, success, and appearance. The pressure to conform to societal expectations, meet certain standards, and constantly compare oneself to others can generate stress and feelings of inadequacy.
Family and relationship challenges: Balancing work and personal life, maintaining healthy relationships, and fulfilling family responsibilities can be demanding. Conflicts, parenting challenges, caregiving responsibilities, and the complexities of modern relationships can contribute to chronic stress.
What are some of the physical manifestations of being under a lot of stress? How does the human body react to stress?
Unfortunately, the physical manifestations of being under significant stress are profound. The human body reacts in various ways to this overwhelming pressure. Destructive stress, similar to an unstoppable pressure cooker filled with uncertainty, wreaks havoc on our physical well-being. It initiates a panic phase, releasing harmful biochemical reactions that cloud our judgment. The stress hormone cortisol surges, pushing us into survival mode, acting as if we were immobilized, unable to find effective solutions.
On a physical level, chronic stress takes a toll. It tightens our muscles, entangling them like a jumble of wires, leaving us in a constant state of tension. This explains why stress and physical pain can create a vicious cycle, with each influencing and amplifying the other.
Also, the quality of our sleep can be affected as our minds race, trapped in a web of worries. The immune system weakens, leaving us susceptible to various illnesses. Weight fluctuations, disrupted digestion, and even chronic pain may manifest, making us feel uncomfortable inside our bodies.
Is stress necessarily a bad thing? Can stress ever be good for us?
I’m glad you asked this. Constructive stress, also known as eustress, is a positive form of stress that can have beneficial effects on our well-being and performance.
Unlike distress, which is associated with negative emotions and detrimental impacts, eustress is characterized by feelings of excitement, motivation, and fulfillment. It arises from situations that are challenging but manageable, allowing us to grow and thrive.
It can be likened to a deadline that serves as a catalyst for progress. When faced with new challenges or achieving a well-deserved promotion, constructive stress shows up, indicating recognition of our abilities and accomplishments. Although initial doubts may arise, this form of stress generates momentum that helps us move forward. It facilitates growth by expanding our responsibilities and broadening our horizons.
Embracing constructive stress helps us access a level of power within us that we’re not typically used to leveraging to our advantage. Cortisol, in this context, enhances our focus and strengthens our determination. We gather our resources, converting muscle tension into a driving force that empowers us to confront obstacles. Instead of being immobilized, we utilize this newfound strength and courageously put our best foot forward.
Let’s now focus more on the stress of a challenging economic time. This feels intuitive, but it is helpful to spell it out in order to address it. Can you help articulate what causes financial stress?
Certainly. Financial stress often goes hand in hand with the fear of the unknown, creating a heightened sense of anxiety and unease. When faced with uncertain financial circumstances, people can experience a range of negative emotions about what the future holds for their financial well-being.
One aspect of the fear of the unknown is the uncertainty surrounding income and job security. The fear of losing one’s job or facing reduced income can be overwhelming. The inability to predict future earnings or secure stable employment can create a constant sense of unease, making it difficult to plan for financial stability or set long-term goals.
The fear of the unknown also stems from unpredictable expenses and financial emergencies. Life is filled with unexpected events, such as medical emergencies, major car repairs, or home-related crises. These unforeseen expenses can strain finances and disrupt even the most carefully crafted budgets. The uncertainty of when and how these expenses will arise can create a sense of vulnerability and fear about one’s ability to cope financially.
In addition, financial decisions often involve risk and uncertainty. Whether it’s investing in the stock market, starting a new business venture, or making significant purchases, there is always a level of uncertainty involved. The fear of making the wrong financial choices or suffering losses can be paralyzing, leading to a reluctance to take necessary financial risks or make important financial decisions.
On top of that, financial stress and the fear of the unknown can be magnified by the broader economic climate. During times of economic recession or downturn, people may worry about the stability of their jobs, the value of their investments, and the overall health of the economy. The fear of an uncertain economic future can intensify financial stress and make it difficult to plan and make sound financial decisions.
Here is the main question of our interview: Can you share with our readers your “5 Things You Can Do To Reduce Or Eliminate Financial Stress?” Please share a story or example for each.
- Break Free from Unconscious Habits: Recognize that much of our decision-making is influenced by our unconscious mind as creatures of habit. Surprisingly, our unconscious mind takes control around 95% of the time, causing us to navigate life on autopilot. It obstructs our genuine intentions and undermines the significance of our aspirations, leading us to mistakenly believe that self-destructive behaviors are actually self-protective. Challenge automatic behaviors that contribute to financial stress. Embrace financial uncertainty with courage, as the ego tends to fear self-honesty. Remember, you can never rise above your opinion of yourself. Trade your default psychology for an empowering one. Be conscious of your spending patterns, identify areas where positive changes can be made, and actively choose financial behaviors that align with your goals.
- Harness the Power of Your Conscious Mind: Although the conscious mind represents only 5% of our mental power, it is still a valuable tool for achieving financial success. Use this small percentage wisely by setting clear financial goals, creating a budget, and actively monitoring your progress. Make conscious choices that support your financial well-being and stay aware of any self-sabotaging tendencies. The most important skill I recommend building and strengthening is self-mastery because only when you master yourself can you master your financial future.
- Adopt a Growth-Centric Mindset: Life is not a comfort-centric experience; it’s a growth-centric one. Shifting to a growth-centric mindset plays a vital role in eliminating financial stress. Instead of fixating on the problems at hand, redirect your focus towards finding solutions. Cultivating a growth-centric mindset not only aids in finding solutions but also helps you develop resilience. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from setbacks and adapt to change. When you see adversity as a challenge rather than an insurmountable obstacle, you strengthen your resilience, equipping yourself to overcome future challenges with confidence.
- Embrace Exposure to New Stimuli: Be open to new experiences and expose yourself to different perspectives and ideas related to personal finance. This can help challenge and expand your beliefs and habits. Seek out financial education, engage with financial resources, and surround yourself with people who have a healthy relationship with money. Remember, success is 80% psychology and 20% mechanics. As I always say, the ultimate resource is resourcefulness.
- Be Mindful of the Law of Conformity: Environment beats will, every single time. Recognize the impact of your environment on your thoughts and beliefs. If you find yourself in a negative or unsupportive environment that devalues your self-worth or financial potential, make a conscious effort to break free from those influences. Surround yourself with people who inspire and encourage you to reach your financial goals. Aligning yourself with a positive environment, helps you resist conformity to negative financial patterns and maintain a mindset focused on growth and success.
By following these guidelines, you can effectively diminish or eradicate financial stress. Take action against your unconscious habits, harness the potential of your conscious mind, adopt a growth-centric mindset, embrace new experiences, and remain mindful of your surroundings.
Can you help address some of the potential obstacles that get in the way of implementing your ideas? What can be done to clear the way and remove those roadblocks?
Three potential obstacles that can get in the way of implementing ideas are lack of motivation, low self-worth, and chasing perfectionism. Here’s what can be done to address and remove these roadblocks:
1 . Lack of Motivation:
- Increase your why: Focus on the outcome of what you’re doing and how it can benefit others or contribute to something bigger than yourself. Find a deeper sense of purpose and meaning behind your actions.
- Break tasks into smaller, manageable steps: Setting achievable goals and breaking them down can make them feel less overwhelming, increasing your motivation to tackle them.
- Create a supportive mental environment: Surround yourself with sources of inspiration that encourage you to stay committed to your goals, such as uplifting people and empowering books.
2 . Low Self-Worth:
- Challenge negative self-talk: Recognize and challenge self-limiting beliefs and negative thoughts. Replace them with positive and affirming statements about yourself and your abilities.
- Celebrate achievements: Acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small. Recognizing your strengths and successes can help improve your self-worth.
- Practice self-care: Take care of your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Engage in activities that promote self-care and self-compassion, such as exercise, relaxation techniques, and pursuing hobbies.
3 . Chasing Perfectionism:
- Set realistic expectations: The real name for perfectionism should be “afraid of screwing up-ism”. Recognize that perfection is unattainable and that making mistakes is a natural part of the learning process. Set realistic goals and focus on progress rather than aiming for perfection.
- Embrace a growth mindset: View challenges and setbacks as opportunities for growth and learning. Emphasize the importance of effort and improvement rather than seeking flawlessness.
- Take action and learn from mistakes: Instead of getting caught in analysis paralysis, take action and learn from the experience. Understand that mistakes are valuable lessons that contribute to your growth and success.
Overcoming these obstacles takes time and effort. That’s why I recommend being patient with yourself, practicing self-compassion, and consistently applying these strategies to clear the way and remove the roadblocks that hinder your progress.
Thank you for that. We are nearly done. Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that have inspired you to live with more joy in life?
One of the books that inspired my financial trajectory is “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill.
Let me share with you why this book holds a special place in my heart. Within its pages, I found priceless wisdom that inspired me to transform my financial life.
“Think and Grow Rich” is an incredible guidebook that reveals the secrets of success from some of history’s greatest achievers. It taught me how to harness the power of my thoughts and beliefs to attract wealth and abundance.
The author, Napoleon Hill, showed me that success starts in the mind. By shifting my mindset, setting clear goals, and taking consistent action, I gained the confidence and clarity to pursue my dreams.
What sets this book apart is its emphasis on the importance of persistence and resilience. It taught me to embrace failure as a stepping stone to success, never giving up on my goals even when faced with challenges.
“Think and Grow Rich” provided practical strategies and actionable steps to create wealth and financial freedom. It helped me develop a clear roadmap for success and provided valuable insights into building strong relationships and leveraging opportunities.
The knowledge I gained from this book enabled me to make informed financial decisions, take calculated risks, and seize profitable opportunities. It opened my eyes to the power of visualization and the role of faith in achieving extraordinary results.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
At Peter Sage, our vision revolves around empowering people through our personal growth programs to actively elevate their consciousness and create a ripple effect to raise global consciousness. Our mission is to equip people with the mindset and resources needed to unlock their utmost potential.
We go beyond providing mere information; our goal is to facilitate lasting transformation. Through our programs, we aim to bring about significant positive impact to as many people as possible. We believe that by empowering people to tap into their inner strength and wisdom, we can inspire meaningful change in the world. We strive to create a ripple effect of positive change that extends far beyond the people directly involved in our programs.
What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?
To stay connected with my work, readers can visit my website at petersage.com. There, they will discover a wealth of information about my books, speaking engagements, coaching programs, and other valuable resources.
I actively engage with my audience on social media platforms, particularly LinkedIn and Facebook. On these platforms, I share my thoughts on personal development, leadership, and a variety of other topics. Connecting with me on these platforms will ensure that readers stay informed about my latest projects and gain insights into my work.
For those seeking regular updates, I offer a complimentary weekly newsletter. Subscribers receive my latest YouTube videos, articles, insights, and resources directly to their inbox. To receive these updates, readers can sign up for the newsletter on my website.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.