“The Four Agreements, A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book)” by Don Miguel Ruiz was published in 1997 and became a New York Times Bestseller for seven years and the 36th bestselling book of the decade.
Don Miguel Ruiz is one of 13 children, born into a modest family in rural Mexico. Because of his humble beginnings, he learned anything was possible if you simply believed in yourself.
His parents hoped he would carry on the Toltec traditions of his family. Instead, he went on to school to become a medical doctor and neurosurgeon and joined his brothers to practice medicine.
Toltec means artist. The artist’s very existence is to create stories. According to Don Miguel, each one of us is an artist. The biggest story we create is the story about ourselves and the life we live.
Don Miguel believes, and I concur, where you are in this moment of life is a compilation of the agreements you’ve made with others in your circle of influence, God, but mostly with yourself.
The genesis of these personal agreements are rooted in fear that create tolerations, zap our energy, and holds us back from moving towards the endgame.
In 1970, a near death experience (NDE) changed Don Miguel forever. His awareness came to light when his spiritual body became detached from the physical one. “What am I?” is the first question he asked himself. He was not who he believed he was.
He slowly understood that the Toltec knowledge of his heritage encompassed all of the ingredients required to transform the human mind. Upon this revelation, Don Miguel returned home to complete the training with his mother and today is a practicing Shaman.
Don Miguel’s curiosity for the meaning of who we are led to the writing of “The Four Agreements.”
The Four Agreements are:
1. Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally: Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions: Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
4. Always Do Your Best: Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.
“The Four Agreements” contain practical steps, if followed, will lead to long term personal transformation. As a business and career coach, my focus is to help clients create sustainable change.
In the coming year, I’ll dive deeper into this personal development classic that has sold over 5M copies to better understand what the four agreements truly mean. I’ll share my thoughts with the hope you’ll walk away with something useful. Ideally, to help you create a better story.
What are your thoughts on the agreements? Which one pops off the screen for you?
Photo courtesy of pasotraspaso.
I LOVE That book. If anyone hasn’t read it, I’m with Steve, go to Amazon now and pick up a copy. If it’s on your bookshelf and you’re on the East coast, light a fire and wait out the blizzard 😉
Karin, I’m glad you also like it.
Interesting thing about these Nor’easters. The last several years the Syracuse area has dodged these storms so we’re not expecting much more than a dusting.
Nevertheless, because of lake effect, our seasonal average snowfall is 115 inches.
I’m pretty good with 3 of these but have to own up to not being so good with #2. I tend to believe that even if it really has nothing to do with you it can impact you, sometimes harm you if you’re not at least wary of it.
By the way, is he still a physician as well?
Mitch, I’m not sure if Don Miguel still practices medicine. My guess is probably not. He seems to be extremely busy with writing, speaking, appearances, etc.
Ah yes, taking things personally. There’s a book with the title “What You Think of Me Is None of My Business” by Terry Cole-Whittaker. At times, easier said than done.