The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz reinforced a whole bunch of things for me. A whole bunch of important lessons I already knew, but have a knack for forgetting. If you google “The Four Agreements” you’ll find a number of useful graphics that summarize what is already a pretty short book, but I’m more of a list person than a graphic designer, so here’s my summary:
- Be impeccable with your word.
- Remember The Secret? This is basically The Secret. Words and beliefs have power, so use them for good, not evil! Duh.
- A point of clarification: impeccable here means “without sin” and believing or saying something that goes against yourself is considered a sin.
- One of my favorite quotes: “…the victim represses, and the warrior refrains. Victims repress because they are afraid to show the emotions, afraid to say what they want to say. To refrain is not the same as repression. To refrain is to hold the emotions and to express them in the right moment…”
- Don’t take anything personally.
- Sirens went off. One of my favorite sayings is “what others say about you is more a reflection of them than you.” Again, same idea.
- A lot of what people do is a reflection of how they were raised to think and feel, so why take things personally?
- This has helped me deal with grumpy people, bad drivers, and other ingrates, but I still struggle not to take things personally when I’m interpreting more subtle emotions. Thus, the third agreement…
- Don’t make assumptions.
- Definitely not my strong suit. It’s a simple concept, but I know that I habitually try to “read between the lines.” Don’t be me.
- I have to remember that not everyone thinks the way I do and ask the right questions. Be clear. Could this solve all of life’s problems? Maybe.
- Do your best always.
- This is my favorite of all the agreements because it seems the most attainable. I’ve been living by this mantra for a long time.
- This is the part I need to work on: “Keep in mind that your best is never going to be the same from one moment to the next.” I was also amused that this is almost exactly what my friend was telling me a week or two ago.
So, why go through all the trouble of following these agreements? The goal is personal freedom. The goal is heaven on earth. When I think about this, I imagine myself singing at the top of my lungs, chasing my dreams instead of doubting them, and fearlessly telling my loved ones that I love ’em.
I’m not there yet. But that’s the beauty of the fourth agreement. I don’t have to get there overnight, I just had to do my best moment my moment.
After reading The Four Agreements, I do feel like there’s something missing. I haven’t quite put my finger on it yet, but the good news is, he wrote a couple more books. Maybe, I’ll get those and tell you what else there is to know.