You Have the Power to Reinvent Your Life
Hi, I’m Krisstina Wise, and welcome to the Wealthy Wellthy Life, where I interview thought leaders who teach a counter-cultural approach to money, health, and happiness, because great riches don’t matter if you’re sick, and good health doesn’t matter if you’re broke.
Today, I tackle money wealth with Peter Sage. Peter is an internationally known entrepreneur, author, philosopher and teacher. He has personally started over 20 companies across a wide variety of fields including the Worldwide Health Corporation, a company selling nutraceutical products, and the energy fitness group, a fast-growing chain of fitness centers. Peter is author of the number one Amazon best-seller, ‘5 Keys to Master Your Life’, and he has a second book on the way. He’s a renowned speaker who has delivered multiple Ted talks, and shared the stage with the likes of Richard Branson, Bill Clinton and more. He’s an expert in the personal development space and has devoted his life to sharing his experience on a global scale to transform people’s lives, and teach them how to reinvent themselves.
What I love most about Peter is his adventurous spirit. Peter is an accomplished athlete. He’s a noted expert in health and nutrition, a former competition level bodybuilder. He has completed several marathons including the formidable 250 kilometers Sahara ultra marathon, widely recognized as the toughest footrace in the world. He has climbed some of the world’s highest peaks, competed at British championship level indoor rowing, is a trained and decorated marksman, is a qualified open-water diver, an experienced sky diver, and a long-standing member of the world-renowned and infamous dangerous sports club. An amazing man. Believe me, you won’t want to miss this episode. Enjoy.
Peter, it is so much fun to interview you. I’ve been watching you for a while, you are one incredible man. In fact, I admire so much what you’re doing, especially so much of your extremism. I think my readers are really going to love learning about you, hearing so much of your knowledge and expertise, and the wisdom that you’re about to share. I listed your long bio of accomplishments. I think is thinking, “Holy cow! This man’s amazing.” But what I would love to hear that doesn’t really show up in any bio, is a little bit of your story. What caught my attention in some of your story, is you were a high school dropout at 16, so you’ve come a long distance between there and here. Do you mind sharing with us a little bit, maybe some of the story, the Peter Sage story that not everybody knows?
Yeah absolutely. First off, Krisstina, thank you for the invite. It’s always a pleasure to reach out and hopefully leave a little impression on a new audience, of something that we can contribute in a way that adds value, and that’s really my outcome here. I don’t really share a lot of my story because I’m not really much about me, again it’s about how we give people things and tools that they can help their own lives with. But if it helps people understand a little bit more about it, the normalcy of an average guy like me. Rather than putting somebody on pedestal, which I think we’ve all done from time to time, whether it’s childhood heroes and ruby stars, because as soon as that happens, the first thing that cuts in is that “Well, it’s okay for them because…”. Then the presupposition is, “I’m not good enough to be able to do that,” or “I’m missing some special gift,” or “There’s something wrong with me.”
Let me lay it out for you. Yes, I’ve been very blessed to have quite an extraordinary path and quite an extraordinary story, but no less than anybody else’s story. That started for me when I dropped out of school at 16. I did that for a couple of reasons. One is I’m just not that academically gifted. I’m not clever when it comes to academia. The school system itself essentially encourages people to learn how to pass tests and work for somebody else. That’s the general mainstream that it’s been the staple diet of the post-industrial revolution educational system that was designed for one thing predominantly. It trains people that came out of a non-industrial time into a compliant workforce that showed upon time because they were told and didn’t mess up the system. That’s how school still happens, so that the entire aspect of following that journey really didn’t appeal to me. I didn’t want to pass tests or work for somebody else.
The second reason I dropped out was because it seemed fairly obvious to me, that I saw schools as getting you ready for a job. If I’m an employer looking to hire somebody in a job, even if it’s a really well-paying job, and if I’m earning $1,000 a week, then the job is obviously worth more than $1,000 a week otherwise I wouldn’t be getting it all. The very definition of taking a job, I’m always going to be earning less than what I’m worth, and that didn’t sit well with me. When I was16 and could legally get out of there, I was like a rat up the drain pipe. I was going on, was at in the world trying to swing the bat and see what happens.
You don’t need to validate yourself by education. Now, if it’s the specialist information you need to master, to go and do things, and that’s great, whether that’s school, whether it’s studying to be an architect or a salsa dancer. Now, if the skills to master, that’s a different conversation. But blindly following a path that essentially says, “I’m not good enough until somebody validates me that I’ve never met, by signing a piece of paper that I’m never really going to rely on, so that I can go out into the world to justify my self-worth”, I’m sorry, that ain’t a path I want to walk. I got out of that, and went off on my way and started my first business at 17, selling toys out of the back of my car in flea markets. I worked for my dad for a short while. He own his own junkyard, and his own job, and that was never really going to be my path.
He used to pay me 40 bucks a week, and that’s a big lesson by the way. I’m sure some can relate to. Don’t work for your parents because they don’t pay you enough. I think that was part of the encouragement to fly the nest. So I said, “Dad, I’m leaving at the end of the week,” and he said, “What are you getting into, son?” I didn’t actually know but I had a belief which I still have, and that is if you jump into the deep end, you can only swim.
I had my £40, I gave £10 to my friend that I owed, and £10 to my mum for board and lodging so I had my last £20. I brought my way into a wholesalers and not knowing what I was doing, bought £15 of the toys, and drove to a car boot sale, what we call an indoor flea market in the US. I laid out a little blanket on the floor because I couldn’t afford a little place table. I had a little Mini at the time, and this was before Minis were cool. I’m 6'3'’, I don’t fit in a Mini, and I remember putting my stuff on the floor and hoping I would sell it. I sold the entire lot for £30 pounds, I doubled my money. I went back the next week, I bought £25 for the toys, I paid £5 entrance to the flea market, and I sold the lot for £50. I went up and up every week until I got enough stock to cover market stall. I started doing markets and then Sunday markets, and toy parties and all sorts of things to try and hustle a few bucks.
When I was 17 years old, my tagline was “Pete, the toy boy.” By October I’d made my first £1000. I remember the feeling looking at the bank statement, and I’d never seen a bank statement with four figures on it. I remember thinking “Wow. The important thing here is not that I’ve got a thousand, it’s the fact that I’ve made it, and I earned it,” and there’s a big difference there. If you’re earning money, the job security is the ability of your CEO to run his or her company, case closed. That’s why you’re adding value, unless you don’t add value in which in case, you’re out of there anyway. You want to be also in job security, yeah. I think it’s entrepreneurship because at least you’re relying on your own sense of responsibility to go out and build, contribute, and add value.
So for me, not having to earn it, knowing that I could make it, really meant that there’s no way they could take my toolbox away. I had made it once, I could make it again. That was really the whole aspect of how I started. Since then I’ve built 20+ companies. Some have been spectacular, success global, multi-million dollar firms, and others have been global multi-million dollar failures, and everything in between. That journey is really what crafted me to be the entrepreneur I am today, and really look back on some of the lessons that came far more from my failures and my wins. I believe failure is your capital, not something to be ashamed of. That’s really how I come to where I’m at.
I love that story. I want to peel back a little bit. From a young age, you were a little bit of an iconic class. You had some inner wisdom at a young age, and you really listened to those messages, that intuition. Maybe some of it was just,“Hey, I suck at school so I’ve got to try something else.” Whatever it was, you did this which is uncommon to forge your own path and do something very different from what everyone else was doing. You probably weren’t getting validation say, “Yeah, go Peter! Drop out of school. Do this toy thing. Sell this from the back of your car, your trunk!” So that says something different about you at young age.
But there’s also lots of people who show up to those flea markets and they’re not selling out of their inventory. They’re not doubling it every week, they’re showing up maybe week after week and barely getting by. What else was there that was different?
Beautiful question. I learned some very valuable lessons in those early days. The most important one I think was this: if I showed up to the flea market and I was in an upbeat mood, positive, happy and on top of the world for whatever reason, then I would happen to sell more. Now if I wasn’t, and I was down, I was desperate to try to make money or I was there to try pitch customers on what my agenda was rather than this, I wouldn’t. The lesson it taught me was this: very early on, I saw the corollary between the fact that my attitude and how I do is fundamentally tied together. I was essentially selling the same toys to the same demographic at the same price point, same everything. I just happened to be lucky with good customers that day? No. Every single time I was up that I would do better. Every single time I was down, I wouldn’t, and you’d have to be an idiot, which is close to what I was, not to spot the pattern there. I think “Whoa, there’s got to be something to this.” That was really a valuable lesson that I was grateful to learn. It then tied into one of the greatest gifts in my life at that point which at 17 years old, I discovered personal development.
Somebody gave me a set of tapes and it was one of the old six-tape cassette, Nightingale common type deals. I don’t know what it was. It was a recording of a seminar where they were talking about success secrets. I remember sitting on my bed. I lived with my parents, and I had this little single bed in this room. I’m 6' 3'’, I’ve got to sleep diagonally so I don’t get my feet cold. I remember having one those old little pop-up cassette players and little foam earphones, and I was listening. The realization, Krisstina, almost hit me like a two by four. “Whoa, whoa, whoa hang on, time out. You mean there’s an industry that actually teaches success? Wait a minute. Where was that on my curriculum at school? Where was that on my options? Where were they teaching that in college?” Because that’s what I’ve ultimately wanted. That’s what most people ultimately want. So why can’t I go and learn that directly rather than thinking I’ve got to learn Algebra or the periodic table in order to get a qualification or to get a job, in order to get successful someday? It’s like, ‘guys, it’s your call’.
I threw myself into because of that, I was a veracious learner. Every penny I made I bought another tape set. I started reading ‘Think and Grow Rich’ from the late, great Napoleon Hill. Almost anybody that’s made something of themselves has come across that book or certainly personal developments as one of the the greatest works of art in that subject matter that was ever written in the 20th century.
I remember thinking, “Wow! This is it. I know with certainty that I’ll always be okay. You still have a formula. Your success isn’t luck, you’re successfully exclusive.” It wasn’t luck that I did well when I was happy, and people would avoid me when I was down. Learning that early on, I became a student of human behavior and personal development, and I really looked so much. It’s been nearly 30 years in the industry now, and I’ve seen a lot of different stuff. When you start off learning a music instrument, you start off by playing other people’s music. But when you start to compose your own, it’s the symphony of all of that learning you bring to the world in a unique way to be able to touch other people’s hearts. So that’s what I’m doing now. That journey was so full of different wisdom and mentors, alive and dead virtual people I met or didn’t meet, the people that I studied the works of. The biggest gift that I had was giving myself access to personal development at 17 and realizing that it was a far better area of study than traditional school.
I venture to say that you’re still a student of life. You’re still learning, you’re still growing, that’s never going to stop. It’s a discipline that you learned early on and continue, right? It’s not like you figured it all out and you’re done. So many people are seeking the answer, the right piece of advice. But it’s a journey. I learned these lessons early on and I’ve kept these lessons the same exact fundamental principles throughout my entire career, and I’m still going. I don’t know where I’ll be at 20 years from now.
People ask me a lot some of the big questions. I address some of the big philosophical and metaphysical questions of life that none of us can answer: what’s the purpose of life? People say the purpose of life is to be happy, right? I disagree with that. I don’t think the purpose of life is to be happy, happy is an emotion. As human beings we’re designed to experience a range of emotions. I didn’t want to be happy at my mother’s funeral, but I was fulfilled. Fulfillment runs a lot deeper than happiness. Happiness is a temporary result of one thing and one thing only. If people want happiness, think happy thoughts. Case closed. It’s a by-product or consequence of thinking happy thoughts. It doesn’t happen any other way.
But wait…there’s more?!
This post has been adapted from The WealthyWellthy Life podcast. Listen here for the full interview and story of Peter Sage and to download a PDF of this entire conversation.
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