Balancing the Four Bodies
As entrepreneurs, many claim that any deviance from our goals is a distraction. Others harp on the importance of numbers, spreadsheets, and ideas. We spend so much time chasing down the data, we sometimes forget that there’s more to a business than just that. Any successful founder will bring up the importance of networking, relationships and other soft skills. However, many overlook how imperative balance is.
On Season 6 episode 32 of the Making Bank podcast, James Altucher chats about his many successes and failures of an entrepreneur. Since the 2000s, he has been making millions—and sometimes losing it. On this episode, he shares his advice on how to avoid the mistakes he’s made. His biggest takeaway? Find balance in your four bodies.
What are the Four Bodies?
What does James mean by this? As he explains, if you have a block in your physical body, it can lead to a heart attack and possible death. We understand how important it is to take care of our bodies, no matter what that may look like. However, there are other areas in our lives where if there’s a block, it can harm. In hurting us, it also hurts our performance. James calls these important areas our “four bodies.” The better we take care of these bodies, the better we take care of ourselves. The better we take care of ourselves, the better we can take care of our business.
So, what are these four bodies?
The first and most obvious is the physical body. James makes a point to highlight how important it is to make sure we’re treating our bodies well. Numerous studies have connected better physical health to happiness, less stress, longer life spans and more. Staying healthy offers endless benefits, with very little downsides.
That being said, you don’t need to be an Olympian. You don’t even need to go to the gym every day. Plenty of research has backed the idea that simple movement every day is most effective. In fact, consistent exercise is the best exercise. So, don’t struggle through something you hate. Instead, find what works for you. This may be a low impact activity like yoga or walking, or something more intensive like cross fit. As long as you like it and it keeps you moving, you’re good to go.
The more you take care of your body, the more it will take care of you. Once you find a movement routine, you will notice your stamina increasing. This will be helpful during the long days of running a business.
Next, James focuses on the importance of your emotional body. Have you ever had a fight with your partner, then tried to come up with new ideas? Are you ever productive on days when you’re distressed about your family? Probably not.
Emotional health is extremely important for both our personal and professional lives. A negative emotional experience can blot out our other abilities, such as creativity and curiosity. Bolstering your emotional body can look different for different people. For some, that’s maintaining close and fulfilling relationships. For others, it is making sure the family life is happy and healthy. Many want to have some much-needed alone time. Other people may need to finally seek out professional help.
It’s not an exact formula but focusing on what’s best and most fulfilling for the family, friends and the self can help restore the emotional body.
When we prioritize and tend to our emotional health, we are happier with ourselves and our relationships. This spreads into other areas of our lives, especially professional. When we are performing better professionally, we also may feel better emotionally. It becomes a positive cycle.
So, if you want to ensure you arrive to work ready, make sure to first do the emotional work.
Just as your physical body needs exercise or its muscles with atrophy, so does your mental. James believes in maintaining your mental body through mental practices. Every day, he writes down ten new ideas. They can be about your current business, a new business, or anything you think of that morning. They don’t have to be business ideas at all. Rather, any new ideas are preferred to help exercise the creative muscle. If you do this every day, you will eventually find a great idea. You’ll discover several.
If you forget to exercise this creativity, you may lose the power to do so. Then, when your business, the market, or new clients demand you to be creative to solve a problem, you may be unable to meet the challenge. You may not recognize a great idea when it comes along. You may not be able to execute it if you do.
James says this practice has saved him, personally and professionally. In the times he has stopped exercising his creative muscles, he has gone broke. When he has gone broke, doing this practice has pulled him out of it.
Lastly, James touches on the importance of spirituality. Whether that’s through religion, philosophy, or other forms of belief, spirituality can bring purpose and meaning to your life. Spirituality can help you find community, whether at your local church or spiritual-focused yoga practice. Whatever is the case, James encourages you to not shy away from faith. Instead, search for a faith that fulfills you and connects you to others.
Overall, all four bodies are equally important. If one is blocked, the others will suffer. If two or more are blocked, you may suffer irreparably.
It sounds counter-intuitive but focusing on the areas outside of our business can help improve the business itself. Finding balance and maintaining the four bodies leads to a better you. When you’re at your best, so will your business be.