Not sure what you want to do with your life? Try this quick journaling exercise to narrow down your options and find a career you’ll love.
The exercise from Holstee is based on the work of psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who introduced the concept of flow, that feeling of being “in the zone” and immersed in an activity. The goal is to find work that you feel vitally engaged with:
Positive psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (the flow guy) interviewed over 100 highly generative science and creative types to see how they found their calling. The study revealed a consistent narrative, which researchers have termed “vital engagement.” It’s generally defined as “a relationship to the world that is characterised both by experiences of flow (enjoyed absorption) and by meaning (subjective significance).”
So step one is to ask yourself which activities you’ve ever felt swept away by or so absorbed you were driven to go further. The second step is to consider the activities that you find meaning in: “What would the best version of yourself be doing with his/her life?” and “What sorts of projects sharpen the qualities you most admire in yourself?”
Then make a Venn diagram (mental or actually drawn) and see where the areas overlap. That’s the sweet spot.
The exercise, while simple, might be hard, and won’t necessarily produce an answer for you, but it could give you some ideas for your possible next career move.