Half a Century of Learning

In the next handful of days I will turn the corner on a half a century … my 50th birthday. I’ve learned a few things along the way, and I am still learning! That’s because I am one who consistently reflects. On this, the SocialSteve Blog I’ve shared with you much that I have learned with regards to marketing and social media. But this time around, I think it is fitting to share with you just a few of the important life lessons I have taken to mark the half centurion mark.

*** “It takes more failures to succeed than it does to fail.” – I worked for a big corporation fresh out of college and they provided “development” seminars. I heard this at the first presentation and it has stuck with me forever. Bottom line – do not give up! Drive to accomplish you own success and don’t let failure knock you down.

*** “You don’t need to tell an @$$hole they are an @$$hole.” – Long story short here … early in my career there was this guy I worked with named Carl. Carl was a miserable human being. He did something uncalled for and I went into his office and said, “Carl, that was really f-ed up,” and walked out. He comes to my office wincing and clinching his fists and said, “You wanna take this out to the parking lot.” I did nothing but fuel a crazy situation to further stupidity. We think getting things off our chest makes us feel better by dumping and venting on the perpetrator, but it really does not yield content. Releasing your negativity is what is required. That is far more effective than telling someone off.

*** “You have two ears and one mouth – do twice as much listening as talking.” –Maybe the most important aspect of building strong relationships with people is listening to them and understanding them. Strong relationships spawn support and greater meaning in your life.

*** “There is a difference between pleasure and happiness.” – Too many people confuse the two. In most cases, excessive pleasure yields unhappiness. Pleasure appeals to our senses. Happiness comes from our brain and heart.

*** “No one ever says, ‘Damn – I wish I worked another day,’ on their death bed.” – We all know people whose lives were cut tragically short. Make sure you take in the important things on your limited time here on earth. It is easy to get consumed by work and aspirations of key professional positions. Remember the most important things and people in your life and make time to enjoy connecting and spending time together.

Yeah, I have learned a number of things, but those are the highlights. In the next 50 years I hope to learn much more … I’d like to think of myself as a perpetual student of life.

Now if I can ask you for one birthday gift … I have been sharing blog posts to you for the past four years. I’d like to turn the tables on you and ask for you to share with me (and my readers) something you have learned that is an important life lesson. That would be a great birthday present for me.

Make It Happen!
Social Steve (1/2 way there and still learning)



Filed under Social Steve, SocialSteve, Uncategorized

27 responses to “Half a Century of Learning

  1. Happy birthday Steve, and thank you for sharing your inspirational and informative posts on social marketing and the social experience.
    I am 53 and have, since my teens referred to myself as a “Student of the Universe”. We have a similar perspective.
    I have learned that there really are no @$$holes. There are however; @$$hole-like behaviors. I can even see it in myself sometimes, and in the people Il love and respect the most. Labeling anyone, anything is a habit that I try to kick constantly. I find that it closes my mind to an individual’s humanity. It also makes me feel less empathetic, which is one of the traits I cherish most.
    I believe in the golden rule, and that “Love (really) is the answer”.

    Here’s to the next 50!


  2. Happy B’day Steve!
    I share something common with you all i am a firm believer in humanity
    and i think that is what drives me, The thing that i have learned is not to label anyone sometimes it is just a reflection of where we are in life. I agree
    wholeheartedly that learning is a lifelong lesson, the moment we stop learning we stop living. Empathy , kindness are one of the traits i cherish the most.
    once again many happy returns!


  3. Sheyan Samarasinha

    Happy Birthday Steve!
    I have been a recent follower of your blog posts and social marketing, thank you.
    While I am somewhat younger than you (late 30’s) I have recently had my first real stumble in my career or plan. It has given me the opportunity to really stop and question what is important. I have a young family and there are many responsibilities and obligations weighing on us as parents. However it is amazing how adversity has brought us closer together as a family.
    One of the great life lessons that I am attempting to instill in my kids is that failure is okay but giving up is not. Young people today all too easily give up or believe that they can not accomplish something because they do not succeed immediately. Thomas Edison famously told a reporter that I didn’t fail, I found 2,000 ways how not to make a light bulb; I only need to find one way to make it work.
    I agree whole heartedly with your first piece of advice and as was repeated in “Galaxy Quest”, Never give up, never surrender!
    Best, Sheyan

  4. Happy Birthday Steve!
    In my experience, everything works out the way it’s supposed to and you have to try to find the reason and lesson in every bump in the road, even if it seems disappointing at the time. I’ve interviewed for jobs several times in my life and been devastated when I didn’t get them, only to get a better offer later or meet a person a never would have met. The key is not to wallow in the failures but keep going after what you want. It’s not always easy but usually worth the wait.

  5. Happy birthday Steve – and who says you are already half way there? You may only be 3/8ths of the way ‘there’! I too am fast approaching the half century and the one thing I’ve learnt ( but only recently…) is to try and live in the moment. Like kids do. So long spent wanting to speed on to the next thing, or hoping time would hurry up when things were challenging. So easy to miss the good stuff when you do that…
    I have nothing to do with marketing – I’m a journalist and educator who stumbled upon your blog and have always found it down to earth, accessible, and not at all full of the guff that comes with most commentary in this filed…thanks!

  6. My parents always told me you never know what you may learn from people who ever they are. Never go by first impressions, but listen to what people say whether millionaire or begger.

    I have always looked for interaction, participation and responce.

    Some of the best has come through your blog Steve, have a great week. I am sure i wil have missed something.

    Can’t wait for the day I have a coffee or beer with you in NYC.

  7. Happy Birthday Steve!! This is the best blog post yet. Will share right now!!

  8. Thanks for this post Steve. The one thing I’ve learned is that it is not the “situation” that matters. It’s your reaction to the situation that determines your experience. The “situation” can be exchanged for “life”. And “experience” exchanged for “happiness”. 🙂

  9. “You have two ears and one mouth – do twice as much listening as talking.” Is one of my favorite quotes. In fact, it was part of my auto-signature for years. Even then, it took years for me to learn to ask a lot more questions versus try to impress everyone with knowledge. That goes hand-in-hand with another one of my favorite quotes – “People do not care what you know until they know that you care”.

    Happy 50th, Steve. It’s been great getting to know you better over the last year, so keep these outstanding and informational blog posts coming!

  10. Very nice quotes, love them all! 🙂

  11. Happy Birthday Steve!
    First off kudos to you on developing a large following via your highly engaging and relevant blog!
    Second, thanks for sharing those life lessons, they are all great.
    Third, below are some lessons / sayings I appreciate.

    “Do unto others…” – simple but true

    “This too shall pass” – sometimes hard to remember in the down times, but in every challenge there is an opportunity and in every failure there is a lesson.

    “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world.” – Einstein. Not universally true, but I do often find we are not lacking knowledge but the imagination to push us outside of our typical boundaries and view things differently. Also relevant to me as a parent of child just entering that “imaginary” play stage.

    “There’s no shortage of ideas, but there is a shortage of execution.” – I recently heard this from Peter Corbett of iStrategyLabs here in DC. This may seem to contradict the third quote, but I think they are complementary. Lots of folks use their imagination, but those who can take something from idea to solution / answer impress me. As you say Steve, Make it Happen!

  12. Arvind Devaraj

    Dear Steve,
    Wish you a very happy 50’th and many more to come to one of the most humble and genuine person I’ve come across. You’ve hit the nail on the head with these simple yet most important traits in life that we should strive for, to become a better human being.
    Few thoughts I can share:
    1. Never stop trusting people – we all might have had some bad experiences with a few odd folks, but we have to believe in the goodness of humanity and continue to trust as it is the only way things move forward.
    2. The best is yet to come – we have to keep motivating ourselves to take our life performance to the next level, to realize the best in each one of us.
    3. Never ever ever give up – keep fighting adversity and we shall succeed – In our most difficult times, we ought to keep the spirit of enthusiasm and hope afloat to guide us out of crisis situations.
    Best wishes again!
    Arvind Devaraj

  13. If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get, what you’ve always got.

    One makes good decisions and bad ones. Bad ones can be dealt with. But the ones that eat at your gut are the decisions that you delay making.

    Focus the incredible creative mind on the end result. When roadblocks appear, don’t give them too much energy or focus. Instead ask yourself “how can I have the roadblock AND still get the result?” it’s amazing how much quicker the result is attained.

  14. Tony Dowling

    Reblogged this on Completely Free Sales Advice and commented:
    Some really nice thoughts here, and the comments are good too!

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