Love.

Love is very interesting. It can be the most euphoric feeling in the world. Somehow the sun shines brighter when you’re in love and we long for the days to never end. Everything seems that much better when you have someone to share it with. In stark contrast it can be the most painful emotion, one that can numb your body, cripple your heart and crush the soul. Anyone who’s loved knows of the dramatic roller coaster ride it takes you on. For some, that ride comes to an abrupt end and can send shockwaves through your world.

For me love was like walking into a theme park; I was a teenager ready to ride the roller coaster filled with thrills and chills and never leave. I walked in with an open mind never having experienced it before. I was oblivious to fear, just excited for the adrenaline rush I was about to feel. My heart was kind, I was loyal, I respected. I made plenty of mistakes and I learned along the way. I forgave as much as I loved since I always believed forgiving would set you free. In the end, I realized that loving someone with all of my heart and being a good man wasn’t enough. Here’s why ….

Love is a partnership. It requires deliberate effort. Not once a week, not every now and then but everyday. Fairytales depict love as perfection. While it most certainly should never be painful, love is never perfect and that is what makes it so unique. It’s the process of effort, forgiveness, maturity, and loyalty that allow people to fall deeper and deeper into love. It requires a certain level of kindness, one that is gentle enough to touch another heart and leave a lasting impression.

Some people aren’t equipped with the longevity and dedication necessary to truly love someone else. They instead fall in love with a being, a look, a style, a type, or even the intimacy that comes along with a relationship. Some even are too in love with themselves to appreciate the love of another. Their comfort level leads them to believe they’re in love, yet they overlook all of the details. They want the glory of being in a relationship, without putting in the effort. And so it becomes a cycle of extreme happiness and unhappiness. I’ve see it and it’s ugly. The name calling, the threats, the noticeable disinterest, even the lack of affection. Yet these people are the ones who say “I love you”.

Truth is when you love someone you’ll move mountains to ensure their happiness. Mistakes are inevitable, some are even greater than others, but the moment you forget the importance of the person you love you’ve lost them forever.

It’s important to always realize you have a choice. The love you seek is obtainable only if you are patient enough to wait for it and courageous enough to move on. Remember the first time you rode your bike? You fell off didn’t you? And I bet you got right back on and eventually you just kept going. It’s okay to get hurt, the bruises will only remind you of how far you’ve come.

Being twenty-nine years old, I am very selective with whom I choose to offer my time and heart to. People always ask me why I’m single; I’ve chosen to be. I don’t look for perfection, and definitely don’t need just a pretty face. I’m an extremely confident young man and I’ve never needed a pretty woman on my arm to feel secure, instead I’m attracted to the qualities of a woman; her vision for her future and the kindness of her soul. That’s what I look forward to falling in love with and that’s what I build my future for. I’ll be patient until the day I find it …. and when I do, I’ll show her a love she’s never experienced before; a love that will never hurt and never quit.

Relationships.

I’m definitely no expert on love. Through the years I’ve had my fair share of bad relationships. In fact I’ve been divorced once before. I encountered some of the darkest days of my life during that time frame, but I needed to go through that. You see, people fear being lonely. It’s in our DNA to want a companion, to want to love, to want to create. So naturally, losing someone is painful. There becomes fear you’ll never find someone else, fear you’ll never love the same way, etc. I felt all of that. And while I may have suffered, I learned a lot about myself and how strong I really was. I saw the light at the end of the tunnel and I pursued it aggressively.

I would always hear this “you have to love yourself first before you can love someone else” phrase and I didn’t really understand. Here I was, 27 years old with a successful career, loving family, great friends and a life to rebuild. I was scared shitless because I didn’t even know where to begin. I thought I had everything right. I invested my life into a woman I loved, was loyal to one company, and bought a beautiful new home to start a family. Where did it go wrong? I would wake up and go to work, come home and get some food and then get to bed. I had no desire to do anything; my mind was like scrambled eggs. My life, however, took a turn on a warm afternoon in April, and slowly that phrase started to make sense.

I received a phone call from my best friend. He had asked me if I wanted to go kickboxing. I laughed out loud and said, “Bro, seriously? Are you out of your mind? I’m not in shape for all of that”. We shared a couple laughs but he convinced me it would be fun and even if it wasn’t, it was a reason to get out of the house. So we get to CKO and we’re greeted by the bass thumping music. I looked around and kinda liked it. We took the class and I was hooked; finally something to want to leave the house for. I didn’t even care about the work out aspect of it, it just gave me something to look forward to do everyday. I’d go alone, take my bag in the back, work out and then go home. Not only was I excited to go everyday, I was getting in ridiculous shape, too. And so I was moulding a relationship with myself, learning to love spending time alone with my thoughts, meeting new people, and learning about what life had to offer.

I began finding comfort in being alone. I no longer had a desire to “have” someone in my life to keep me occupied, to love me, or to bring me happiness. I was going places whenever I wanted to, doing things however I wanted to and creating memories in the process. In essence, I was creating my own happiness without someone else. In doing so, I’ve been able to identify what i want in a woman and have made certain that I’ll never settle for anything less than what I truly deserve and desire. Mind you, there might not be a single person in this world who wants a family more than I do. I’m just not willing to settle in order to have that. I believe that God and patience will bring me everything I’ve dreamed of and more.

I have a totally different perspective on relationships today than I did even two years ago. The majority of ones I see are hanging by a thread. See, I think of relationships with the same lens as I do my career. If I am going to invest my time into something, it’s because I know I am getting the same investment back in return. Why would you put time and effort into something that doesn’t put the same time and effort into you? And then be naive enough to believe it will bring you happiness? Men and women wake up everyday and go to work to be successful. Most have this obsession with making more and more money. Imagine they felt the same way about your feelings and happiness? Giving more and more effort each day because it’ll bring them closer to that next step. Why shouldn’t they? Money doesn’t bring happiness, hell I would rather be broke and in love than rich and miserable.

A picture or two up on Instagram or Facebook will suffice as a portrayal of happiness these days. Time goes on, the passion and romance fades. And people are okay with this. Don’t be. Don’t settle for less than what you truly deserve. Why spend nights apart? Why live separate lives under one roof? Rather than fading, your love for someone should intensify over time. Your eagerness to make them happy and spend time with them should grow each and every day. This is the person you’ve chosen to build a life with, if there’s anything worth investing your time and energy into, it should be them. If at any point you question that notion, you should probably reconsider your relationship because forever is a long time to just settle.

Romance.

You know, I always wondered why that spark you feel at the beginning of a relationship ends. Yet as I’ve gotten older I’ve started to understand why.

As a man, when you find a woman that catches your interest, you do whatever it takes to ensure you catch hers. Whether it’s texting her good morning, sending her flowers to work, calling her to say hello or even planning a beautiful night out you’re always thinking of ways to make her fall for you. Once you catch her interest it’s like euphoria; you’ve won your prize. For a while you continue to show her you care. You’ll text good morning, you’ll tell her she looks beautiful, you’ll send her flowers on important days …and then it stops. This is where the majority of men fail and the primary reason relationships today don’t last.

Women want to be desired, regardless of the length of their relationship. They want to know that they are still the most beautiful woman in your eyes and that they are still on you’re mind twenty-four seven as they were when they were mere strangers in your eyes. Some will say that’s difficult to do since your level of comfort grows over time. I say that’s just an excuse.
When you’re truly in love with someone, that feeling never fades.

So what does it mean to be romantic in 2014? For starters, stop texting. Pick up the phone and call her regardless of how long you’ve been together. Don’t you want to hear her voice? If you don’t, I’m sure someone else will. Stop sending flowers from 1-800-FLOWERS. I’m sorry, I have friends who do this so don’t take offense, but be more creative. Go to a florist, pick them out yourself and bring them to her. It requires effort, exactly what you should be giving. Stop spending more time on social media than you do spending time with her. Your Facebook friends and Instagram followers won’t be giving you a family anytime soon, stop caring what they think about your life. Be spontaneous; pick her up from work with a suitcase full of her clothes and take her somewhere. If you forget anything I’m sure there’s a store or two you can find to pick it up. Write her letters; women love letters (ask any girl who’s watched the Notebook). Take care of yourself; remember how hard you’d work out to be in great shape so you could impress her? Yeah, keep doing it. No girl wants to date a man who stops caring about his health and appearance. Make her dinner, even if you can’t cook … like me. Open a cook book and figure it out. Light candles, put rose peddles everywhere …. she’ll find a reason to forget how bad you can cook. Most importantly, give her reasons to feel beautiful. You desired her because she was the most beautiful thing you had ever seen and because she made you smile like nobody else could …. don’t ever stop reminding her of that.

You see, men become complacent. In most instances they get bored and want the next best thing. It’s no help that social media has ruined chivalry and romance. Be different. Treat her like you’re still trying to win her and that’s how you’ll never lose her.

Gentleman.

The world we live in today has lost it’s level of respect for women. I grew up in a home with a father who always opened the door for my mother, always held her bags when they went shopping, always picked up the tab at dinner and certainly always took care of the financial responsibilities at home. So at a young age I learned what it meant to be a gentleman and I’ve vowed to be one ever since.

I think it all begins with how you pursue a woman you’re interested in. Men today are too eager and go full steam ahead when they find someone they’re interested in. It’s as if they have no self worth. Take a step back and give her the opportunity to get to know who you are. Pick up the phone and call her after work instead of texting her all day. Sure, texting is convenient, but never make her feel like she’s just convenient. Give her something to desire; talking to you. Let her know she’s on your mind because you cared enough to hear her voice. More importantly ask her how her day was and listen to every word she says.

I’ve seen so often the texts saying “let’s chill” or even better, “wanna hang out?”; no emphasis on your desire to see her. If you’re interested in a woman, pick up the phone, call her and tell her how much you would love to take her out. Never tell her where; give her something to be curious about. Put thought and effort into it. At this point, if you’ve talked to her over the phone and have paid attention to what she’s had to say, odds are you’ll have some idea as to what she enjoys doing. Listen, it’s all in the details.

Dress in your best. If you expect her to look beautiful for you, make sure you look handsome for her. Don’t meet her where you’re going, pick her up at home and be punctual. If you say 8:00p, be there at 8:00p. Knock on the door; don’t text and say “I’m here”. Want to catch her attention? Bring flowers … her favorite ones. If you’re afraid you’ll look stupid then she’s not the right girl to begin with. A girl who’s interested in you will be elated that you wanted to do something to make her smile. It’s not the norm, but do you want to be the norm for her? Most importantly, tell her how beautiful she looks. She put time and effort in to impress you. Notice it.

As you walk back to the car, open the door for her. If you decide to go to dinner, make sure you don’t sit until she does. If it’s a table, pull out her chair. If it’s a booth, allow her to sit first. Pay attention to her at dinner. Don’t take your iPhone out and check your Instagram. That’s as rude as it gets, and directly indicates she’s not as interesting as your coworkers picture of their kid eating ice cream. When it comes to ordering food I’ve never believed in ordering for someone else. Allow her to order whatever she wants and don’t force anything on her. Whatever you do, do not allow her to pay, especially splitting the tab with her. That’s appalling. Pay for it as a real man should, always.

When you drop her off home, walk her to her door. Thank her for giving you the opportunity to take her out. If you really want her to desire you reiterate how beautiful she looked, kiss her on the cheek, smile, and say goodnight. She’ll walk away wondering why you didn’t try to kiss her like every other guy. Again, it’s not the norm. It wasn’t because you weren’t interested, it was because you respected her. And we all know respect is the foundation of any amazing relationship.

Treat her like a lady, always. Value every aspect of her. Never allow a day to pass by where she doesn’t know how much she means to you. Always tell her how beautiful she is; it never gets old. Send her flowers just because. Leave notes on her car to remind her she’s on your mind. Kiss her every chance you get. Most importantly, honor her. She chose to share her heart with you … make it worth her while.

Worth.

When was the last time you took time to think about your worth? I would expect the majority of us to be perplexed by the question. It’s undoubtedly something that can be lost in the complexities of our day to day. Work, relationships, children, our home … just a few of the many aspects of our lives that require dedicated time and attention. And since we’ve decided to invest our time into these aspects of our lives, we’ve already defined their worth. But what about ourselves?

Let’s talk about the stock market for a moment. It’s pretty simple concept, right? Investors invest into these companies because they believe in the potential. Whether it be the company’s product portfolio, business operations, marketing tactics or even quarterly earnings…they keep a watchful eye on it’s every move. And so the company is very strategic because it’s aware that any move it makes can negatively impact it’s business and those who invest in it.

Now take that concept and apply it to yourself. Every decision you make and every action you take is a reflection of who you are. Stay away from being the stock that doesn’t grow for years and years. Instead, be the one that grows day over day and allows others to benefit from its success. Make wise decisions in your life, surround it with people who desire to see you grow, drown out the opinions of those who don’t believe in you by staying true to your values, and most importantly let your actions speak not your words. Doing so will clearly define your value, give people of all walks of life the desire to invest you, and solidify your place on the ultimate market …. Life.

Prosper, don’t just be.

Believe.

At some point in life we all experience a level of uncertainty. Unfortunately certain levels of uncertainty can alter our pursuit of dreams and aspirations. It’s at these points that our minds become clouded with doubt forcing us to question our ability to overcome.

Growing up I allowed my mind to run free. I dreamt big, but why not? I knew that anything I had ever desired had it’s own route and I had a choice whether to pursue it or not. I always saw chasing my dreams as a way to challenge my mind rather than looking at it as a way to become successful. I didn’t care about money, I just wanted happiness. Every obstacle presented a new way to push the limits of what my mind was capable of achieving. In fact, there has never been anything more gratifying than achieving what others didn’t believe I could. Shame on them for underestimating me.

Everything was perfect; I was sitting on top of the world. But what do you do when your world crumbles right before you eyes? Better yet, what do you do when you know there’s nothing you can do to stop it? I watched everything I spent years and years building wash away in an instant. My home, my relationship, my standing at work. It was like a bad dream that I was just waiting to wake up from. This couldn’t be real. Everything and anything that could have went wrong did. I was lost, confused, heartbroken and devastated. I tried painstakingly to hold it together, but even I wasn’t strong enough to do so. All I had left was my ability to believe. To believe that this was God’s plan, to believe that I would find strength amongst it all but most importantly to believe that no matter how hurt I was, I would overcome everything.

It was the furthest thing from easy, yet every day was an opportunity to rebuild. I kept focused on my dreams and never allowed my experiences to outshine my end goal. I dug deep within myself and pushed every limit of what I ever thought I was capable of. I didn’t know how to quit; my mind wouldn’t let me. The pain didn’t just disappear, instead it remained for some time as a reminder. Yet I knew that one day the pain would subside, and pave the way for a greater appreciation for life.

And so I’ve learned quite a bit through my experiences in life, yet none more important than realizing how powerful the mind is. It defines our intelligence, serves as a storybook for our past and vividly portrays the future we yearn for. Beyond that it has an ability to shield us from doubt and negativity. You see, we serve as the filter and our minds listen to our beliefs. The more and more you tell yourself something, the more likely you are to start believing in it. I believe God brought me to those points in my life for a reason. I may have not understood why then, but I most certainly understand why now.

It has made me an even better person, a more intelligent and wiser young man, a more driven employee and I know for certain that one day I’ll love someone in ways I never thought possible; a love that will change their life as much as it changes mine.

Driven.

People have always asked me, “What drives you?”. It’s a common question that can yield so many different responses. I’ll share my response with you momentarily but before that I’d like to dissect the question. 

I’ve always been convinced that everyone possesses their own unique drive, derived from different factors from within. When I think about drive I am immediately drawn into what gets us out of bed in the morning. After all it’s a choice we make, but what’s the reasoning? Is it your passion for your job? your desire to get promoted? the fact that you have to pay bills? It can be anything, really. 

For me, my reasoning has always been consistent. There are days where I am up at 4:30a and others where I am home from work by 12:30a; never a simple task by any means. When I wake up I actually never think about getting promoted, never about the bills I have to pay, or even the insane amounts of passion I have for my profession. In fact, the first thing that comes to my mind is something that doesn’t even exist. Sounds crazy right? It’s what has driven me since I was a little boy and what will continue to drive me for the rest of my life. I may never obtain it, I may never see it, never feel it or even touch it. Just knowing it’s a possibility has always been enough for me. 

What is it? What in the world could possibly be worth exuding so much energy and effort towards if you know there’s a possibility you may never obtain it? The answer has always been simple. My children. Everything I do and every decision I make has their best interest in mind. Waking up everyday and putting blood, sweat and tears into my work is effortless to me because I realize that in doing so I am creating something far greater than a beautiful career; I’m building a foundation for the future that I have always envisioned for them. I want to look them in the eyes one day and tell them that everything I’ve ever done, I did for them. 

That’s what drives me. 

Anthony.

Where do I begin? I should probably tell you a little bit about myself but I refuse to begin with the typical “my name is, I was born in, and I work for”; that’s the norm. Let’s try something a little different. 

Simplicity. There’s something fascinating about it, especially to me. In a society where the overwhelming majority tend to focus on the next best thing, I find a remarkable level of tranquility in perfecting what’s directly in front of me. When you’re able to remove all of the clutter, there becomes a unique level of precision in your focus, whether that be your profession, friendships or love life. I’ve learned to wash out the desire to keep up with others, rather having chose to maintain a desire for inner peace. Our world is filled with so many distinct obstacles; an effortless mindset is the key to overcoming it all. 

Success. Let me elaborate further. Success is waking up every day and loving what you do. Only when you’ve found what you truly love will you ever do great work. I’ve never measured success with a monetary value; doing so only means you’re pursuing a number. Numbers never cease. Instead, I’ve measured my success by my ability to contribute to other’s success. There’s a tremendous amount of gratification in knowing you’ve impacted someone else’s life. 

Love. It’s dissimilar to anything else. Undoubtedly it’s the most freeing feeling one can ever experience. I’ve always loved without fear. Putting limitations on your emotions only restricts the greatest gift God has given us. The world was born on Love and it continues to evolve because of it. We all share the same fate in life; we live until our lives come to an end. When you think about that, the obvious becomes evident; we have absolutely nothing to lose. Love with all of your heart, express who you truly are not who someone wants you to be, and live with no regrets. Set yourself free and then settle for the love that awakens your soul.

My name is Anthony. Twenty-nine years ago I was born in Brooklyn, New York to my amazing parents Joseph and Mary D’Ambrosio. I work for the greatest company on the planet, Apple Inc. 

This is just the beginning of my story.