My Four Burners

Introspecting on my life through the burners model

My Four Burners

I recently read about the 4 burners of life through an article shared by Preetam Nath. It talks about how one’s life (stove) is divided into 4 burners (Health, Work, Family & Friends), and how if one wants to be successful, they have to turn off one or two of those burners.

I don't subscribe to the philosophy that to succeed in life, you have to set some burners off and keep focussing on work. If you can’t take care of yourself, everything else will suffer. Additionally, you may rethink which burners matter to you and set your stove accordingly.

Additionally, the 4 burners mentioned seem to be very subjective based on your culture and personal life. For introspection, I was thinking about what my 4 (or more) burners would be.

Personally, I would define continuing success as being able to lead a productive and subjectively happy life. So, keeping that in mind, I will describe my burners and to what degree their set on in the following sections.

Burner 1: Health

Health is arguably one of the most important burners for me to be happy and productive. I can quite distinctly divide my life into 2 halves, one before jogging frequently and enjoying it, and one after starting to take jogging seriously. I have started consistently jogging since about 6 years ago, when I started to listen to podcasts while jogging. It helped me productively pass an hour of my time, while also taking care of the Health burner.

Strength training was something that mattered to me for a while but because of the difficulty I faced (and relative pointlessness of) putting on muscle mass, I don't take it as seriously. However, I do semi-regularly do it to avoid frailty.

Burner 2: Relationships

On the personal relationships side, I divide the burner into 3 sub-burners, namely:

  1. Outside Friendships
  2. Family, and
  3. Close Friendships

With importance and time being devoted in an ascending order for the above. While relationships are important for me, I've set the burner just enough for each of the above to not negatively impact my happiness and productivity.

For eg, time spent with my SO matters the most to me, so I try to take out multiple hours from my day for that. Since, the lockdown familial interactions have happened to the point that people are bored to years of each other, and Outside Friendships are extended friends, etc so I don't stay within the same circle of people.

Burner 3: Work

The burner that most people optimise their life for. In my case, I don't think of work as something which is extrinsic to my day-to-day life, but something which was a part of me all along. This is because I consider work to be a part of self-improvement, with all of the work I've done till now being a part of my growth in some way. So, I divide this burner into 2 sub-burners, to understand them better:

  1. Learning
  2. Applying the Learning

I feel work is a constant cycle of learning and application of that learning. Learning brings me satisfaction because you learn to solve a problem in different ways. On the other hand, the application of learning brings a different kind of happiness, with aha moments, and the catharsis of solving a known problem.

So that’s about it. I know there aren’t 4 burners, but these were the only ones I could think of. If you liked the article, why not sign up or follow me on Twitter.

Other Things to Read

I recently wrote an article on which you may like:

Also check out this article which I'm in the process of writing, which talks about writing.

Preetam wrote about “Why You Should Write”.
Sankalp wrote about “How conversations evolved with technology”.