There are certain things we see and read that just resonate.
Reading about the 4 burners theory was just one those “that’s SO true” moments for me, and because it resonated with me so much, I’m going to write about it for you guys 🙂
The theory suggests that we can break up our life into 4 primary components (or burners, like on a stove)
-The family burner
-The career burner
-The social burner
-The health burner
These four components pretty much encompass the vast majority of everything we do in general, day to day life.
Now just like on a stove, some of those burners are probably turned up more than others. What are your burners like right now?
My career burner is super high followed by my health burner. My family and social burners are turned down.
Of course everybody’s burners will be a little different
If you have a really hard think about it, I’m willing to bet you can’t find an example of a person who is successfully running all their 4 burners at max all of the time! When we take a closer look at friends and family members we can normally see pretty clearly which burners they have turned up and which ones they have turned down.
Super successful entrepreneurs usually have their career burner on maximum but very often their family or health burners are turned down. Have you ever had a friend who had a kid…their family burner goes right up and their social burner often gets turned off completely. At least that’s my experience of friends who have started families. They never come out!!!
Come to think about it, I’d like to modernise this theory and add a 5th burner. The relationship burner. I have many a friend who have turned their social burner off and cranked their relationship burner up. I’m talking full twists on both burners knobs!
After reading and thinking about the theory for a while I tried to come up with methods to try keep all burners up at a pretty good level. Things like meeting friends during work lunch hours or walking around the office when on a call. You could even meet a friend during your lunch hour and go to the gym together whilst texting your girlfriend between sets. That’s ticking off 3 burners in a single lunch hour.
the more I thought about it and tried to come up with work arounds (and the more ridiculous the work arounds got) the more I realised and agree with the fundamental point of the theory…
Life is full of inevitable tradeoffs
We simply can’t run all 4 burners on maximum all of the time and expect to reach our full potential in each quadrant.
Once we take a step back and consider this, it puts us in a much better position to analyse our goals and desires for the future. It’s a really useful way to help plan life and become more efficient. Having structure is usually always more efficient than working through chaos.
I have accepted that whilst I continue to grow my business my career burner is going to be turned up and my social burner is going to be turned down.
My relationship burner is totally stuck in it’s current position. (My gf has made sure of that!)
The reality is, our time is limited day to day and we only have so much energy to throw into things. If we relate these facts to a portable burner, it’s kind of like trying to run all burners on max all the time….the gas will run out very quickly.
We must accept that our burners will fluctuate and try to manage them as best we can. I don’t mind skipping a few nights out with friends and I don’t mind getting an early night during the week as it allows me to work on my business more productively.
Embracing the theory has also made me realise that everyone is different and has different burner settings. When I was a little younger in my mid 20’s I could never understand why certain friends wouldn’t come for drinks every weekend. It baffled me. I realise now that whilst my social burner was turned right up, some of their social burners just weren’t as high as mine.
For know, my career burner is turned right up!