5AM Runner

The Four Burners of Life


burning fireIt’s not often that we get to meet famous people, people that have impacted humanity and changed the world for the better.  Or even people whose names have forever been immortalized based on their lifetime achievements.  We can never meet Albert Einstein or Mark Twain in person, and we can’t even say hi to Captain Edward Murphy of the popular Murphy’s Law ("If anything can go wrong, it will.")

But that’s nothing to be sad about and no reason to wallow in despair – in fact, right here, among the readers of this blog is just the person we are looking for!  His name is Jim Clear and besides being a famous writer and an entrepreneur, he is also the author of the Four Burners Theory.  Jim’s theory may not be as well known as the Quantum Theory or the Theory of Relativity just yet, but it is way more applicable and useful in our daily lives, so let’s take a quick look.

Imagine a stove with 4 burners on it, which are:

1.       Family

2.       Friends

3.       Work

4.       Health

Jim’s theory states that in order to be successful, one can only turn on 3 burners at one time.  And if you want to be truly amazing and change the world, then only 2 burners at any given time.

If you carefully think about it, you’ll agree that this theory is nothing short of genius and applies to just about 99% of the population (there is always that 1% that defies the norm).  But why can’t we have it all, why can’t we fire up all the burners and live our lives at full capacity?

Because we are not perfect.  We are just human beings and if we succeed at one thing, we simply don’t have enough energy and fire for too many others.  And so most of us sacrifice our health, or limit the number of friends, or are lousy at work.  Or if we are exceptional at work, we simply don’t have enough time to take care of our own health, or – even worse- have no energy left for our families.

According to Jim, most people simply choose to be mediocre – they turn on all 4 burners, but not all the way up, rather only enough to get by.  As a result, their lives appear active and fulfilling, they just never get far. 

I personally think it’s ok never to be complete and to stop trying to be perfect.  We all have different paths in life and whatever burners you choose to turn on, that’s just your personal journey.  Trying too hard and turning up all the burners will simply leave you burnt out – and there is some beauty in not knowing everything and in being incomplete.