Dreams Are Free. The Hustle is Sold Separately.

Jamie Astromalo
Sep 9 · 4 min read

My last year was kind of aimless, and while I learned a lot, I wouldn’t classify it as an overwhelming success.

I didn’t draft clear goals and lacked direction. As a result, my year contained very few outstanding achievements and many more rejections.

I lost my childlike curiosity, boundless energy, and unrelenting motivation. The fire inside me, which led me places I hardly could have imagined, was extinguished.

History Demonstrates That Passion Breeds Success

Passion can be fickle, but because it’s lacking now, doesn’t mean it can’t get come back. I know this because I’ve experienced its boomerang effect before.

While achievements have been hard to come by, I remain confident in my abilities to succeed in the future. After all, I’ve been pretty successful in the recent past. To add a pinch of sweetness to my bitter reflections, I’ll share a few positive examples:

  • I wanted to get a management traineeship after finishing my bachelor’s degree. I beat out 415 other applicants– and I got one.
  • I wanted to live in Amsterdam. I found an amazing apartment in the heart of the city and using an unconventional tactic– I got it.
  • I wanted to do a Master’s degree in sustainable development. I took the GMATs 3 times while working +40hrs a week– and I eventually got it.
  • I wanted to launch Ecocoin at my university’s campus. I rallied some awesome people, including a suitable successor– and not only did we do it– but the initiative is still ongoing and growing.

I’m incredibly aware that I have to change my current approach to personal growth. If I want to accomplish memorable feats, then I have to try something different.

So, I’ve decided to start at square one and set new goals.

Seeking Inspiration

I have a handful of mottos that stuck with me in the past month. If you’re curious, the mottos I find enchanting are:

  • Be a good citizen. This is the positive inversion of don’t be an asshole. The world would be a better place if we all just strived to be kinder. I take responsibility for setting a good example.
  • Make a decision, stick to it, and see it through. Stop making excuses that facilitate avoidance. Any worthwhile dream is daunting, so failures are inevitable. Not trying is worse than failure, while learning from failure is noble.
  • Pressure is a privilege. This is something I learned from performing standup comedy. In a world where people are fighting to get noticed, having many eyeballs pay attention to you is a privilege. When I trust my prep and believe in my abilities, then I don’t care if the audience wants me to succeed or crash and burn. I’m confident, and I have big strong shoulder, so if you can’t handle the pressure, then put it on me. I want the chance to accomplish something heroic.
  • Nothing is true. Ideas, theories, and opinions can only be supported or refuted. At any point in time, a better, more credible argument can prevail. Even if something has reigned supreme for a long time, that’s not enough merit for it to reign any longer. I love and respect the scientific method for this reason.
  • Change is constant. Seems like the only certainties in life are death, taxes, and change. While planning is super important, plans hardly ever get executed to a T. Change is too powerful of a force to resist, so embracing it is the more viable option. Learning to love change is a huge advantage to personal and professional progress.

Walking The Talk

As I approach another birthday, it is a good time for me to take these abstract statements and turn them into action.

Man sitting at table in a library with notebook and chessboard.
Man sitting at table in a library with notebook and chessboard.

I plan to do this by embarking on a travel adventure to clear my mind and find direction. More importantly, I want to commit. I don’t want to pick goals or define objectives as if it’s a chore. I want to commit to doing everything and anything required to accomplish them. I want to find a hustle I love. I want to sweat, experience fatigue, and feel the pressure. I want to push my limits, test my boundaries, and progress to places I didn’t think I could go.

You might think that my approach to goal setting is unconventional– and that’s okay. We all approach the phenomenon of life differently. For me, I decided to visit foreign places to meet both strange and familiar faces. I’m also not giving myself a hard deadline to set my goals. I would like to define them around my 28th birthday, which falls on the 28th of this month. Using this marker would be an opportunity to allow a clean year to see results. But what’s more important than fixing a deadline, is sparking a roaring, crackling internal fire.

Jamie Astromalo

Written by

Storyteller | Font Geek | Nature Lover | Plant-based | Sustainist— Grounded earthling with an imagination that ventures to and through time, space and emotion

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