Patrick Cox of Tallahassee, Florida Discusses His Approach to Overcoming Hurdles and Persevering

A graduate of the University of Florida, Patrick Cox has a professional goal of aligning business incentives to solve human problems on a broad scale. Electricity, technology, and financial innovations have created a unique turning point where sustainability is not just a moral boon, but essential to business survival. He plans to influence this through structured and informed decision-making, guiding the businesses of today to preserve our tomorrow. Specifically, Patrick Cox uses models and analytics to make actionable decisions that can be seen at all levels of a company.

Outside of school and work, Patrick Cox enjoys any outdoor activities, particularly Mountaineering, having summited Kilimanjaro and Rainier, and overland camping. In his free time, Patrick currently participates in playing soccer, ultimate frisbee, and volleyball. Patrick is also passionate about building and repairing cars and high-performance off-road vehicles in his spare time, both for personal use and on contract.

Patrick Cox of Tallahassee Florida,enjoys reading The Economist, SSRN articles, listening to Radiolab, and actively managing investments.

We sat down with Patrick Cox who discussed everything from the worst job he’s ever had to what he’d do if he were to start again.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I haven’t had any truly terrible jobs, but I did work for AutoZone as a commercial specialist for some of my undergraduate education. That experience gave me an appreciation for the money individuals earn as full-time workers, and how hard it is to subsist on a minimum wage. 

What is one failure you had, and how did you overcome it?

When I first started to manage my own stock portfolio, I was atrocious at it and lost a significant amount of money. I was disgruntled by not having success in this area of my life, and by failure in general. I wanted to rectify this situation.

At first, I tried to read every stock trading magazine, developed insanely complex strategies, and tried to crack the market. I jumped on trends and became emotionally invested in the positions I took. I would sell a stock when it was losing value and miss an upswing or buy a stock when it was overvalued because I thought everyone else was.

This strategy obviously didn’t work, and if anything led to increasingly negative returns. I overcame this failure by re-evaluating key components of my personality and knowledge that were preventing me from success.

Primarily, I separated emotional involvement and assessed what I was doing wrong. I developed an understanding that losses are expected, and a small loss didn’t mean I was going to lose money in the long term. I had to be less reactive and more proactive. I settled on a strategy that was grounded and did not rely on the opinions of others. I made sure to create rules and structures for my management that wouldn’t be influenced by sudden changes in sentiment.

I also made sure to have exit strategies to mitigate losses and enable me to feel more comfortable about a position declining. This led to increased success and steady improvement in my financial situation in Tallahassee, Florida.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I would make sure that I had a greater sense of direction and more accurately valued my concentration. When I look back on my life, I think that engaging in introspection and really defining what I wanted at different stages of my life is a key feature of success I neglected until recently. It took a lot of trial and error before I affirmed what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it.

I also would love to have taken more time to think through my decisions and the process by which I achieve success. Sitting down and reaffirming your goals is a key component to happiness in the future.

My current boss asked me to engage in Ikigai, a Japanese concept that encourages aligning one’s life, skills, and work to achieve happiness. I think this process is something everyone should do, and I wish I had found it sooner. 

Can you share an example of a recent decision you made and the steps you took to reach your goal?

I decided to start a non-profit for auto work. While I haven’t yet reached my goal, I have taken significant steps to manifest it.

The first step was recognizing a need through conversations and experience. While working in a highly specialized auto shop, I realized operating a car was prohibitively expensive for a lot of people. I am finally in a place to dedicate energy to improving this situation.

For me, success in this endeavor is a network of non-profit shops that will conduct at cost auto-repair and advice. I am starting with just my labor and hope to grow this business as a side project outside of my full-time work.

I conducted significant market research on the feasibility and cost structure of the project and found running one mobile business personally required little start-up funding and time. I then reached out to organizations I’m affiliated with such as churches to source potential customers.

I am fully capable of doing this on my own for the forseeable future but would like to have proof that this business model works and hire a few more mobile mechanics and invest in shop space.

Identifying an opportunity, assessing feasibility, and executing deliberately were the key steps in making this decision and reaching the first of many goals in this endeavor.

Learn more about Patrick Cox, of Tallahassee, Florida on his website, and his LinkedIn profile.