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Steven Cox Life Lessons

44 Life Lessons on my Birthday

By Life Lessons, Motivational, My Writings 6 Comments

A couple weeks ago, I grew another year wiser. It was the big 44!

I don’t know if you’ve experienced this where, one day, you kind of wake up and realize you’re in the mid-part of your life. It’s surreal. It’s surprising. It’s life.

Honestly, I really feel wonderful. Life just keeps getting better and I feel more centered, fortunate, blessed, and happy than I’ve ever been. I guess time has a way of making things better.

This morning, I woke up and wrote down 44 things I’ve learned over the past 44 years. Things about love, work, drive, direction, purpose, health, and curiosity. Things that have become beliefs. Things that have shaped my view of the world. Things I hold as important.

I’m writing these so when life takes a downward turn, I can go back and remind myself of what’s important. But, perhaps you might find something in here as well that you can apply to your life to make it a bit more fulfilling. If that turns out to be the case, then I’d be a happy man to know I’ve helped you out in a small way.

Enjoy! I’d love for you to comment below and let me know what your favorites are:

Steven Cox Life Lessons

44 Things I’ve Learned in 44 Years.

 

  1. The value of life is not in what is owned, but what we experience, who we experience it with, and the quality of love we give.
  2. Live life in a way that makes a positive lasting difference on others and your environment.
  3. The air I breathe is borrowed.
  4. When considering happiness, set the bar low. Make it easy for you to find reasons to be happy.
  5. Practice kindness daily.
  6. We are allowed to make mistakes and still be awesome.
  7. Our happiness depends greatly on what we choose to focus on.
  8. We are all one.
  9. Meditate daily.
  10. Character is determined when no one is watching.
  11. There is a difference between looking at someone, and truly seeing them. Focus on the latter.
  12. If you randomly think of someone, stop for a moment and send them positive energy.
  13. Give love freely, for, it is infinite. Receive love openly. You are worthy of love.
  14. Instead of asking what your mate can do for you, ask if you have the character to be the man she needs you to be.
  15. Never stop touching.
  16. It’s OK to cry.
  17. A short, hand-written note is more meaningful than a text or email.
  18. Make a photo book of your friends, family, and events every year.
  19. Friendships must be cultivated, watered, and grown.
  20. At the next party you go to, make it a point to ask questions, be interested, and listen three times more than you talk.
  21. Travel Often. Let curiosity be your guide.
  22. Trade your time only for WOW!
  23. Dress up on Halloween
  24. Go see live theatre
  25. Every so often, only listen to new music for a week. It could be a new station, a new band, or a new genre that you normally woudn’t listen to. Get out of your routine.
  26. Take time to play.
  27. Discover the artist within you without judging him or her.
  28. Risk more than is comfortable. Take a step. Even when you’re unsure, step anyway.
  29. Exercise your body and mind 5 days a week.
  30. Your health matters more than your bank account.
  31. Every so often, do fruit, veggie, raw diets for a few days, and don’t drink during that time.
  32. Buy fewer things of higher value.
  33. Commit to taking full responsibility in every area of your life.
  34. People aren’t watching and talking about you as much as you think they are.
  35. Our greatest challenges yield the most beautiful memories.
  36. Money is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master.
  37. When you feel arrogance in yourself, ask what you’re afraid of.
  38. Surround yourself with people who play at things you have to work at
  39. Set stretch goals. The greatest value is not in what you accomplish, but the type of person you become while working on it
  40. Strive for excellence over perfection
  41. Many times, the race is won by those who keep running.
  42. You are not your work. It is a part of what you do, but it is not who you are.
  43. We never have another day to make this day meaningful, so spend more time working on things worth dying for.
  44. Love. Then, love more.

 

Change Your Point of View – A Poem About Success

By Entrepreneur Insights, Life Lessons, Motivational, My Writings, Speaking One Comment

My good friend, Adam Hudson, just finished putting on an incredible event called Radius, for entrepreneurs. The whole concept is that by elevating your thinking, your radius widens and you can see things from a different point of view. Pretty cool, right?

I attended last year and he asked me to say a few words at the event this year for the group. So, I gave an update of what our business was able to accomplish, and shared how I feel I’ve just become a better human being – more grounded, and able to work through my own shit.

Radius conference

 

I also wrote a poem called Point of View for them to take away and think about. I presented it to them as a gift.

I’ll also present it to you as my gift. Hope you enjoy…

———————————

Success… we give our best.

Move to the right, then to the left,

Chasing, racing, facing our dest-iny.

We seek, to see our dreams, more clearly,

So ready, for what could be.

We want the dollar, the cash, the money.

We want to feel love from our family.

We want these blinded eyes to see,

And be, who we were meant to be.

To believe, for once, without internal doubt.

We vow, to live, to grow, and discover how.

But it’s not about, the doubt, that comes our way.

It’s not about, what we face each day,

But rather, if we make life fun, and play.

Is it a black night, or just a little gray?

It’s in what we do, and what we say, every day.

So, don’t dismay, because it’s up to you, to,

Turn the gray, into blue, to turn the old, into new,

To change your point of view.

You can change your point of view.

 

 

Success… No time to rest, we pound our chest.

We put our mind and body, to the test,

But if we’re real, we’d confess, sometimes

It feels like life is just a guess,

Of which way’s right, tonight, and which way’s wrong,

Which road do we walk, and which road’s already gone,

Which words fit into our song, of life.

It cuts like a knife. We try and try, to fly so high

Only to be shot out of the sky. Bye-bye.

And inside, it messes with our mind, we find

No release. Our doubting demons never cease.

We need, and need, before we let ourselves be at peace.

We tell ourselves, that when we reach that elusive place,

When we become more than just a face, in the crowd,

Somehow, when we feel we can keep up this frantic pace,

Then we’ll let ourselves be in a happy place.

Challenge that thought.

Make an about face.

Now is the time to be content, free from resentment.

Free to float more, and steer less. Free to love more and fear less.

Free to be the brightest star.

Free to love ourselves just as we are.

When we get real, and truth be told,

We don’t, have tomorrow, we don’t know, if we’ll grow old.

We’ve told, ourselves that we have to wait

Before we’re enough, before we let ourselves be great.

It’s today! Today is our date, there’s no debate.

Our truth is, we don’t have to wait.

That’s not how it has to be.

Right now, we can live simply, beautifully, perfectly.

You see, when we change how we decide to steer,

We can be fulfilled, right now, right here.

We can choose love instead of fear.

It’s always up to you, to,

Change the gray into blue.

To turn the old into new.

To Change… to change your point of view.

 

Success… we are blessed,

with the chance to give our best,

With our ability, to see, more than what is,

But what can be.

We have, within our power, in this hour

A new way to see.

From when we were born, until we turn back to dust

Til all our materialism turns back to rust,

When the rains of life fall, and the wind’s gust,

Trust, because you are on a cusp…

Of something new, of turning gray into blue; don’t dismay

You were made, made to lead, made to build, made for love,

Made to fill,

up your cup, and others, too,

So that they might see, from another point of view.

It’s made

Made in you, it’s made in me,

and made in us.

We make the world a better place, when we raise,

When we elevate, our own, Radius.

 

* The line, “float more, and steer less. Free to love more and fear less.” was borrowed from my friend, John Styn. Thank you for the inspiration John!

 

What You Choose to Focus On

By Life Lessons, Motivational, My Photography No Comments

I caught this picture this evening as the sun cut through the clouds over the San Diego bay.

Focus on the Positive

 

The contrast between the overhanging clouds and the light was powerful for me. It reminded me that, in life, we have a choice of what to focus on. We can choose to focus on the dark clouds, or we can choose the sun. Same picture, same circumstances.

Let’s focus on the positive and let the sun shine through.

 

The Confidence Loop

By Business Philosophy, Leadership, Life Lessons, Motivational, My Writings No Comments

I was chatting with a young employee over a beer the other day and we started talking about confidence and its importance. Here is a summary of the conversation along with a diagram on the cyclical pattern of confidence.

What is confidence?

Confidence is a state of mind. It is a lens that we choose to view the world with. What’s cool about it is that it’s available at any time, to anyone.

The state of mind then carries over into how we carry ourselves and the actions we choose to take.

By acting as if you’re confident, you take on the role of a confident person. Your body changes, your mindset becomes different. You become that which you think. You begin to look and carry yourself in a certain way. And a funny thing happens. People treat you as such.

When others see confidence, they instinctually trust and follow it because we all know that these are the types of people that end up creating wins for the companies, their families, their communities, and their world. People instinctually know that the results will be beneficial and leave positive lasting affects on them.

For the most part, people admire those that make impact and they end up sharing their feedback with those that have taken action. That positive feedback helps fuel even higher levels of confidence, which in turn creates more action and results.

It’s one big loop – I call it The Confidence Loop.

StevenCox.com - The Confidence Loop

How to Get Confidence? Start the Loop

And how do you start the loop? Take Action.

Take action on things you fear. Things you know you should be doing, but are afraid of what people might think.

Take action on something you care about deeply – something that makes a difference.

Be comfortable with knowing that a lot of the action will not produce the outcome you want immediately. But if you keep working at it and persisting towards a clear path, you WILL get better, you will produce better results, and you will be able to affect change in the world.

People (except haters) love others who take action because they’re a true manifestation of living the dream. Just by getting the results, it means the confident people chased their dream, and they’re making it. They are making it work – and it shows us that we, too could have our dream.

It’s a hope for a better tomorrow. Hope for a higher plane of happiness.

 

Finding Your Passion

By Art, Creative, Motivational One Comment

“I was a fidgety and noisy child. All my school reports said that I couldn’t concentrate and that I was always distracting the rest of the class – I was a pain, by all accounts.

But when I drew, I was calm.

Drawing allowed me to get lost in a bubble, and I was suddenly quiet and content. At weekends, while all my friends were out playing football in the park, I went to lessons at the local art college. I could draw happily for hours and hours and not realize what the time was.

And nothing has changed, really. I’m the same today.

But, as the years go by, it becomes harder and harder to find those uninterrupted moments when you’re left alone to be in that headspace and lose yourself in drawing. I’m lucky if I get one hour a day when the phone isn’t ringing and there are no emails to answer.

But when I find that hour, nothing tops it.

It’s about reaching that moment of pure ecstasy when a drawing just happens. Where every move you make with your hand and every thought you have in your head grows in front of you without any mistakes; no rubbing out, starting again and getting frustrated. It’s like being in a trance – it’s fluid – and you almost don’t remember doing the picture.

Drawing is an escape from all the unnecessary things in life that get in the way of being free.”

– Jamie Hewlett, Artist and Filmmaker.

(Jamie Hewlett is the award-winning artist behind the world’s most popular cartoon band, The Gorillaz. Before he created The Gorillaz with his then-flatmate Damon Albarn, he created the seminal punk-rock comic Tank Girl.  Original quote was pulled from a Dunhill.com ad in GQ magazine.)

Steven’s Notes:

Find that place each day where you can dive deep into passion. Even if you’re at work, throw yourself completely into it. What you may find is that ‘passion’ becomes a function of who you are vs. only what you’re doing at the time. While sometimes it may not be as invigorating as creating a new drawing, remember that you have the abilty to create a sort of art each day by simply focusing 100% of your efforts, intensity, and passion into what you’re doing at that moment.

 

Steven Cox makes a fashion statement with an ascot

The Almighty Ascot – A Night at the Feeding America San Diego Charity Fundraiser

By Fashion & Design, Politics and Social Thought No Comments

I admit it.

I’m a sucker for the 1940’s Hollywood glamour look.

I love the seductive wavy hair women like Veronica Lake used to wear.

And, there’s something super cool and nostalgic about the men’s ascot (shown here worn by Cary Grant).

Cary Grant and the Ascot

 

Tonight, we are going to an awesome charity event for the fine folks of Feeding America. The Sunset Soirée is generously underwritten by the Meyer Family. 100% of the proceeds benefit Feeding America San Diego to create a hunger-free and healthy San Diego. The event is hosted by Larry King, with a special intimate performance by Sheryl Crowe.

Since the fundraiser is on the beach, I’m ditching the tie and going to try the almight ascot – Cary Grant style. I chose a blue suit, a Hammer Made white shirt, white pocket square, and a 60’s psychedelic ascot just to mix things up.

Why Ascot’s are Cool

1. No one else wears them.

2. They don’t choke you like a tie – better to breathe.

3. Lots of different styles to pick from.

4. Slightly nostalgic without getting weird.

5. Exudes a certain level of coolness – no matter who’s wearing it.

 

Steven Cox makes a fashion statement with an ascot

 

About Feeding America San Diego

435,700 individuals recieved Feeding America San Diego food assistance last year

Who receives emergency food assistance from FASD?

  •  46% of the members of households are children under age 18
  •  14% of the members of households are children 0-5
  •  3% of the members of households are elderly
  •  About 11% of clients are non-Hispanic white, 16% are non-Hispanic black, 68% are Hispanic, and the rest are from other racial groups
  •  62% of households include at least one employed adult
  •  76% have incomes below the federal poverty level during the previous month
  •  7% are homeless
Food Security
  •  70% of client households are food insecure
  •  41% of the clients have very low food security
  •  Among households with children, 72% are food insecure with very low food security
Choosing Between Food and Other Necessities
  •  62% of clients report having to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities or heating fuel
  •  62% had to choose between paying for food and paying their rent or mortgage
  •  34% had to choose between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care
  •  48% had to choose between paying for food and paying for transportation
  •  57% had to choose between paying for food and paying for gas for a car
Satisfaction
  •  98% of adult clients said they were either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the amount of food they received from their provider; 96% were satisfied with the quality of the food they received

 

Do Something Extraordinary. Personal Notes from 10 years ago.

By Goals, My Writings 2 Comments

I routinely like fixing a martini and writing about philosophy and what I'm experiencing in life at that moment. It helps me stay clear and focused on the bigger picture. It helps me not get caught in the 'thick of thin things'.

I was looking through a few old notes and I fould this posting I wrote 10 years ago. At that time, I'd had a business win under my belt and thought I was hot shit. Instead of continuing to better myself, I had slacked off and stopped challenging my mind. Even though I had more financial resources, I was emotionally empty.

Sometimes I could not see my path until I was able to look back and catch the vibe of where I was, what I learned, and how I've grown. I'm thankful for the people in my life that continue to push me.

May 6, 2001

I am realizing that if I don’t start acting now, continuing to reinvent myself, I run the risk of being one of those middle-aged guys that was mediocre, but never stood out. A good guy, nice person. But never did anything extraordinary.

I am afraid.

Afraid to even type the fact that I’m scared of letting my life pass without making it count.

It is time to re-invent myself. To become the mover and shaker that I know I am. It is simply an unfulfilling life to be a nobody – someone that doesn’t make a difference – someone who doesn’t risk. Half of me runs afraid of losing what I have (my house, etc) and the other half run afraid of being mediocre and not becoming all I can be.

I lost some of the FIRE I was famous for.

Somewhere along the way, I lost the frightened and scared kid that pushed me away from failure.

Somewhere, I lost the necessity for action. I lost the drive that pushed me never ever to settle.

I lost the bull-headed, focused, belief that anything was possible and nothing was good enough.

I lost that feeling that drove me to go to school – that drove me to try my hand at buying houses – that drove me to give up my job and head to Vegas – that drove me to quit a well-paying job for the shot of doing something great.

In essence, I decided to let my life just pass me by for the past few months. I decided – by not deciding – that I had pushed hard enough and now was a time for coasting.

Fuck coasting!

Coasting is being mediocre. It's for the 95% who do not care to push forward.

Coasting is compacency. And complacency is death.

And there I sat, in the midst of the very success I created, and let that same success drain me from the core of what pushed me to start with.

It’s wrong. It’s so wrong.

It’s not the matter of how much cash I have, or what car I drive. It’s that I always keep pushing myself. I always drive forward.

Steven, your goals – your drive – is more important. You are slacking when you fail to commit! I must stay committed. I must stay focused.It's not about setting goals, it's about having the discipline to achieve them.

Take my weight for instance. This is not just about weighing 185. This is about being able to sacrifice for my goals. This is about being able to finish the workout and cardio – even though I feel like quitting.

Do you understand?

This is about CHARACTER.

This is about being able to keep a long-term commitment and surpass all expectations.

This is about pushing myself – getting the FIRE back – getting the drive back.

This is about having the discipline to control my destiny!

This is one way you are going to get your life back!!! What’s “good enough”? Good enough is for losers. Good enough is for people looking for an excuse. I've decided that good enough is not good enough for me.

What motivates me is the pursuit of the challenge, creating, winning, helping someone else achieve, love and loyalty, deep friendships, and fuck-you money. I refuse to hang out with people who are not striving to become better.

It's time to make a change. It's time to require more of yourself than others do. It's time to become passionate again.

In order to make change, I can’t just change my behavior. I must change my belief of who I am. I must change my IDENTITY to myself.  I must BE my WHY. Step into your new role TODAY. Change your identity to become what you want. How would I act and feel and think if I was exactly like I want to become?? Go out and DO and KNOW.

Today I will dedicate myself to make a change. And I will be a better man for it.