21. Inclusion

A few short weeks ago, Apple held its first ever new product announcement event in their brand new headquarters. The event was held in an auditorium just off the main “ring-shaped” building, dubbed the “spaceship.”

The entrance to the auditorium is atop a hill, with 360-degree glass walls and the world’s largest singular piece of carbon fiber as the roof. I have been following the construction of this entire campus for since it began in 2014 and you won’t believe the chills I got seeing this beautifully-crafted masterpiece open to public eyes for the first time! The thing is, I’ve always appreciated fine architecture and after spending the first twenty-two years of my life in small-town South Georgia, the few times I ever visited Atlanta or few other “big cities,” I enjoyed the sight of a high-rise building or other large building with unique features.

What’s weird is that I was never a neat person. I didn’t take pride in cleanliness, organization, etc. If I’m being honest (because Hannah is going to read this and call me out if I don’t say this), I am still not completely neat and organized. It’s really hard when you’re not disciplined**.  In 2012, I got my first real taste of Apple products when Hannah and I bought our iPhone 4 model phones. 2 1/2 years later, having not really thought much about the computer side of Apple’s product line, I bought a used white 2009 MacBook. I don’t remember the specs, but knowing much more nowadays about the spec improvements over the past ten years, it must’ve had 2GB RAM (maybe 4), and maybe a 250GB hard drive. For being six years old, it was impressive after having a Windows PC for as long as I can remember. At this point, I think I had purchased a used iPad (2nd generation) before acquiring the MacBook, but even still, I hadn’t really considered myself a Mac guy. By no means was it because I didn’t think they were the best products I’d ever used, because they were, without a doubt! I’ve just never really felt like I belonged to anything that I could identify myself with. The Apple cult is what I’ve heard it called, and yeah, you can call it that, too. Whatever.

Somewhere in this process, I had moved from the old, white MacBook, to a 2011 MacBook Pro, which was insanely better than the one I had before. We also upgraded when the iPhone 5, and then 5s came out. As far as iPhones, we’ve since moved to iPhone 6 Plus and now iPhone 7. I digress. We basically have a house full of Apple products and it’s just what it is.

I say all of that to say I have essentially become enamored with the art of what Apple creates. I’m not obsessed (Hannah would disagree), but I’m simply seeing the development in my soul of such a keen sense for the deep appreciation and care that a company puts into their products and services. Nothing is 100% perfect, no, but when you allow something to become a part of you, or to become inclusive with something, it shapes your life in such a way that you adapt and become more like that something.

The articles and reports of what little detail made public about the design and style of Apple’s new headquarters have shown a completely new perspective of how Apple takes such care to the most microscopic details about their building. Over the past few years, watching drone videos and leaked pictures surface of this 2.4 million square foot masterpiece make their way online, I noticed a shift in my spirit. I see simplicity and minimalism as essential, thought I still have hoarding tendencies. In this age of digital media, I still want shelves upon shelves of CDs and DVDs. I still want ten pair of shoes and a closet full of clothes to choose from, despite my newfound pursuit of a stripped down “capsule wardrobe.” (More on that in a future post!)

I think we all spend a great deal of time and energy pursuing the chance to be unique, to stand out in this world. As an introvert, I do not like being the center of attention, but I would like to be known. Not only that, but I would like to be known as the guy who is successful and has “it” figured out, whatever “it” is. Whether we are introverts or extroverts, we all want to feel a sense of inclusion and to know that there are people out there that love us and want to see us happy. There a quite a few people in my life that I am confident feel that way about me and I’m so grateful. Being an entrepreneur and being given the wonderful blessing of being able to work on my greatest passions is a tough challenge. I find it hard to believe that all this hard work is worth it when money runs low or stress seems insurmountable, but in the end, I get to wake up every morning and move myself one step closer to a life that I want to live and on my terms! 

It’s a critical part of life to have a circle of friends around you that believe in what you’re doing and can encourage you to keep pushing through. I have always longed to “be my own person” and not be shaped by someone or something else. I find this now to be a misconception of what self-development really is. We’re all unique, even if we buy our clothes from the same stores and listen to the same songs, or drive the same cars. What makes us unique is what is in our hearts. The only way that we can really stand out in this world is to take what’s in our hearts and pursue that with all we’ve got. We can’t do it alone, nor should we. I challenge myself, as well as you, to seek out those relationships where you can feel the love and support you need to remain motivated and this will help you to reach your goals faster! Don’t let someone tell you that you’re not unique just because you’re doing things like other people. Keep doing those things, but still reach down deep inside you to find that desire to pursue your distinct purpose. 

(*Side note: I remember vividly being made fun of in school because of being labeled a “poser” or “copycat.” Everything I ever knew was something I learned from someone else, and I remember going from wearing windbreaker jackets and gold rope chains, Nike hi-tops, and the like, to making good friends with a couple of guys that wore baggy jeans, long hair, skateboard shoes, etc,… I didn’t know then and it took me forever to figure out how to, but I just saw something new, liked how it looked, and basically did the same thing they were doing. It was years before I began to do a little research and figure out how I can take a new style or whatever, and go in that direction while also making it my own).

Until next week, be you!

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