The Concept of Flow and What Things To Prioritize

I was reading ZenHabits’s 9 Steps to Achieving Flow in Your Life, and also simultaneously reading Steve Palvina’s article How To Prioritize, since one thing I always struggle with is how to prioritize the things you truly enjoy in life.

What I know for sure is that I enjoy sketching & drawing, language learning. Those things really give me a sense of flow, as I lose myself in a state of consciousness, I lose track of time, and I wish I could do more of it if I had more time. I always tell myself that there are more important things to do in life, so I have to restrain myself from spending too much time on these things. (i.e. school, career-related things)

I think what I struggle with is how do I find ways to apply these things into my future career. My ideal lifestyle would have all these elements that I actively improve on.

I spent today sketching and drawing a series of cars in my neighborhood today; since this was winter break for me, I had little time restriction on my part and decided to stay longer.   What was supposed to be 15 minutes of sketching turned into an hour of drawing several types of cars, trying to master the car’s form, shape, the details that every car had so that people could easily see that, yes, this is a car, and these are the details that it carried. This car does have this scale, etc.

Similarly, I remember spending last night catching up on some Chinese learning; I carried this strong eagerness to learn about the next section of grammar, vocabulary that I knew I commonly see everyday. I didn’t even realize that an hour had just passed; it’s quite similar with Korean too, although sometimes I feel pressure to stop and do other things; external pressure because I should be doing other “important things.

This confused me a little bit. Clearly, I usually never have this sort of feeling with, let’s say, a lot of more numerical stuff I face in the transportation profession (the transportation engineering field is filled with numbers, such as dealing with public transportation operations/scheduling, ridership, travel demand, land use, etc., etc.). I might find it interesting, but it’s not to the point where I would lose track of time.

I remember when I was doing a travel demand prediction of the % of commuters from point A to point B of the San Francisco Bay Area for a class, I was less interested in actually  coming up with the numbers, but more interested in actually visualizing the numbers in a map, in a user-friendly manner. What gives?

Anyhow, this makes me conclude that drawing/sketching/visualizing urban planning in East Asia (China, Japan, Korea) is what I should naturally do, because it allows me to utilize my gifts/strengths without deeply going through spurts of procrastination.

Sometimes, I have a hard time admitting this. I want to do the numbers, too! But, there are so many things to do in life, too. One thing I’ve learned is that you can’t do everything in life, that you have to let go of those expectations that you have to be good at everything. If that’s the case, this process requires me to be satisfied with what I have so far.

Which means, of course, I do have to let go of the other books I borrowed with those numerical interests such as public transport operations (alas, I wanted to know everything!)

I guess the letting go part makes me not as stressed out; maybe I might get interested later in life, who knows? I really don’t want too many things to interrupt my flow in life. Hey, less stress means happiness, right?

I’m glad that I’m kind of at this point where I can finally focus on a few things, and structure my life around those few things.

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