The Four Agreements is a global best selling book by Don Miguel Ruiz. It draws on the traditions of the ancient, indigenous people of Mexico named the Toltecs. By studying their fascinating and perceptive way of life, Ruiz concluded that present society lives within self-imposed limits and are “domesticated from childhood”, he highlights how these internal rules make people miserable and suggests four agreements that people can make, with themselves, to break free from restrictions and truly live a happy and conscious life.
Think about it, as children we accepted our own names, without choice. So, what else have we adopted that we don’t even realize? Ruiz discovered through his studies of this wise Mexican tribe that the biggest human fear is not death but instead to be alive. The biggest fear we have is taking the risk to be alive–the risk to truly express who we are. We have learned, from birth, to live our lives in accordance with other people’s demands. We have learned to live life, in line with principles we didn’t create, through fear of not being accepted.
The four principles are not profound and we have undoubtedly heard them at least once in our lives. They are drawn on by Ruiz because they are the four areas, most over-analyzed and typically misunderstood by society. It is Ruiz’s belief that by respecting these four simple mottos we eliminate man-made limitations and live our happiest lives.
The Four Agreements according to Don Miguel Ruiz
1. Be impeccable with your word
This really means that a person is only as good as their word. It is our most powerful tool as a human and in essence, separates us from navigating the world like animals. Recognize the power of your words in the world around you. Don’t use the power of your words to encourage or spread gossip, it only attracts negative energy into your own life.
Impeccability means without sin. A sin is anything you do which goes against yourself. So mind how you speak with yourself and never do yourself harm with your words.
2. Don’t take anything personally
Thinking that everything is about you, is the maximum expression of selfishness. Nothing other people do is because of you. Any negative words or emotions from others, towards you, is simply a projection of their own reality and not a projection of you or your characteristics. Once you understand this very simple concept you avoid many upsets in your life. To really appreciate this concept you must be confident in yourself and know who you are as a person. This way the words of others can’t turn your world upside down.
3. Don’t make assumptions
When you make assumptions you invite problems into your life. You create and believe a false reality and this creates drama around you. You have a duty to yourself and others, to communicate with utmost clarity. If you don’t understand something you must ask for clarity, instead of making assumptions. By doing this you avoid misunderstandings, sadness, mistakes and the break down of relationships with others. With just this one agreement you can totally transform your life.
4. Always do your best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment, for example, you won’t have the same productivity output in bad health. If under any circumstance you just do your best, you can avoid sadness, self-abuse, and regret.