Experiment with Your Back Burner

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

One of my go-to books for inspiration is Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff by Richard Carlson. Here’s one of my favorite passages:

The back burner of your mind works in the same way as the back burner of a stove. While on low heat, the cooking process mixes, blends, and simmers the ingredients into a tasty meal. The way you prepared this meal was to throw the various ingredients into the pot, mix them up, and leave them alone. Often the less you interfere, the better the result.

In much the same way, we can solve many of life’s problems (serious and otherwise) if we feed the back burner of our mind with a list of problems, facts, and variables, and possible solutions. Just as when we make soup or a sauce, the thoughts and ideas we feed the back burner of our mind must be left alone to simmer properly.

Whether you are struggling to solve a problem or can’t remember a person’s name, your back burner is always available to help you. It puts our quieter, softer, and sometimes most intelligent source of thinking to work for us on issues that we have no immediate answer for. The back burner is not a prescription for denial or procrastination. In other words, while you do wat to put your problems on your back burner, you don’t want to turn the burner off. Instead, you want to gently hold the problem in your mind without actively analyzing it. This simple technique will help you solve many problems and will greatly reduce the stress and effort in your life.

Source: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff by Richard Carlson, pp. 63-64.

2 responses to “Experiment with Your Back Burner

  1. Thanks, Joanne, for sharing this. The back burner is often my go to place to help sort out a passage, a character’s dialog, or fine tune a plot line. If I let things simmer, the back burner of my mind comes up with an answer–it never fails. Cheers, and Happy Groundhog Day.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s