A couple of years ago an amicable neighbour shoved a small book into my hands and told me that I would enjoy reading it. He was absolutely right. Reading the book brought a lot of positive changes to my life. It changed the way I thought about certain things, the way I interacted with people. Since then I have recommended this book to many of my closest friends and even went out and bought two of my own copies – both of which are travelling the globe somewhere.
The Four Agreements was written by Don Miguel Ruiz. The agreements are derived from the ancient Toltec wisdom of the native Southern Mexicans. Wise people indeed. The book provides wonderful insights and once read guides your life into a greater understanding of yourself and those you interact with.
I would recommend this book to anyone since there is no one person who would not benefit from applying these codes to their lives. Even though it is a small and easy to read book I know that many simply don’t have the time to sit and read – so for those people I would like to offer a breakdown of the Agreements and how they can be used in your life.
The First Agreement
Be Impeccable with Your Word
Be honest with yourself and others. Speak with integrity. Don’t make promises or commitments you can’t keep. Don’t lie. Remember too that just because something is true that doesn’t mean you have to say it. Think about your words rather than just blurting them out. Say only the things you really mean. Avoid causing unnecessary hurt and pain to others because of your own thoughtless words. Don’t speak out in anger or resentment – compose yourself and speak the truth instead. Don’t speak ill of others or yourself. Don’t give in to the temptation to gossip.
In the long run venomous words will compromise you. Let your words be guided by truth and love. Words carry great power and can cause great hurt and great joy. Use your words wisely.
The Second Agreement
Don’t Take Anything Personally
This is perhaps the hardest agreement of all. Every single day people we encounter may do or say things that we tend to take personally. After all how can you not take things like insults, rejection and personal slights personally? You have to realise however that no matter how a person acts, reacts or what they say or don’t say, do or don’t do – none of it is really because of or about you or who you are or what you have done. It is simply a projection of their own reality.
To a certain extent we all live in our own heads. You have no idea what is really going on in someone else’s head nor what fuels their actions. It is very important for your own peace of mind to be able to distance yourself from becoming subjective to someone else’s reality – even when you or they believe that what they do or say is following the truth. When you reach a point where you can stop and realize that sometimes what is happening has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the other person then you regain your own power.
Eventually you will learn that you can filter the negative and use the positive. It lends you an immunity to the suffering you will endure because of the opinions and actions of others and you stop being a victim. I’m not saying you should discard the opinions of others, they can be invaluable, you just have to learn which opinions can be used constructively and which can’t.
The Third Agreement
Don’t Make Assumptions
Misunderstanding is the mother of all f*#k-ups. There are few things of greater importance than clear communication. We all tend to fill in the blanks and make assumptions and as a result you may think that you are on the same page as the person you are communicating with when in truth you are on the same page… but in an entirely different book.
Don’t make assumptions about what someone else is saying or doing, be very clear in your own communications and if there are any areas you are unclear on then ask for clarification. Sometimes you may be afraid to do so for some reason or another but by not doing so you are setting yourself up for inevitable failure. Find your courage and ask the questions you need to ask. Most people will respect your initiative. Ask yourself if there is anything in your own statements or actions that could be misread; if there are then you need to fill in the blanks before a misunderstanding occurs. Express what you really want. By doing that you are minimising the room for drama and awkwardness and error.
The Fourth Agreement
Always Do Your Best
You can’t always win and you can’t always be perfect but you can always do your best. You best today is not necessarily going to be the same as your best tomorrow since there are many things that influence us on a daily basis. You have to take your capabilities into account and you have to stop beating yourself up over things you can’t possibly have done any better.
When you have done your best you will never have the regret that you didn’t give that 10% more. You will know that you gave it everything you could no matter what anyone else (or the voice inside your head) says. After all – we simply can’t do better than our best. Choose the things you want to do and have to do then go ahead do it to the best of your capability. By applying yourself 100% you won’t have to deal with regret or remorse. Stop judging and recriminating yourself. Even if your best isn’t good enough then at least you’ll know that it really was the best that you could do and you can move on with a clear conscience. By living each day to the fullest and silencing the negative voices in our heads we open up a door to greater fulfilment in life.
If you have enjoyed this summary click on the image above, it is linked to the amazon website where you can purchase your own copy of this amazing book.
For Information on Miguel Ruiz and please visit his website