A decade ago, I came across The Four Agreements as a wall art at an office reception while waiting for a meeting, and it transformed my life and way of perceiving things. Inspired from ancient Toltec wisdom, originating from the Meso-American culture of today known Mexico, The Four Agreements is originally a book that focuses on transforming the reader´s lives through new experiences of love, freedom, and true happiness.
Written by Mexican spiritualist and author of many neo-shamanic texts, Don Miguel Ruiz, the book has been translated in over 47 languages and has served the number one position as a bestseller for over a decade since its publication in the late nineties. From Oprah Winfrey to Ellen DeGeneres, Deepak Chopra to Wayne Dyer, many world-renowned figures and seasoned spiritualists have long endorsed the book for its simple formula to living a suffering-free life.
The book describes every person and their decisions concerning themselves, their families, their faith, and life in itself as agreements. In these agreements with various entities in the course of life, one may tell oneself who they are, what they should or shouldn´t do, what is possible, and what is impossible. The agreements that an individual makes can come from a place of security or fear. It is when the individual operates from a place of fear and self-limiting beliefs, does the onset of suffering begins. To rid oneself of society-imposed and fear-based agreements, Don Ruiz proposes these four agreements, that if followed, can lead to a life of inner peace and true contentment.
Agreement 1: Be Impeccable with Your Word
One of the most difficult agreements, being impeccable with your word signifies speaking with integrity and truth. This agreement focuses on the importance of choosing positive words, avoiding negative self-talk, or indulging in useless gossip about others. If words are like seeds that turn into reality, use the power of your word in the direction of truth, love, and positive progress. For me personally, this agreement with myself has saved a lot of unnecessary drama, unwanted situations and unrequited relations- personal or professional. While I still struggle with keeping my word on deadlines at times , the speaking truthfully part has been the simplest transformation I have experienced since I decided to imbibe this in my life.
Agreement 2: Don’t Take Anything Personally
Different people have different perceptions, which may not necessarily be similar to our own beliefs. The second agreement emphasizes the importance of developing a strong sense of self and not taking others´opinions or hurtful comments personally. In an age where leaving negative comments on people´s profiles and social media is a newly accepted form of social engagement, developing a strong protective shield of self-worth and self-belief can be a powerful tool for dealing with destructive or demeaning opinions of others. Personally, this agreement has been the epitome of many decisions I have taken in life, based on my own construct of beliefs and perspectives, ensuring that I do not do things to get an approval of others, but rather stick to my gut instincts. One such example is when two years back I quit all forms of social media in spite of having thousands of followers, and an overtly growing audience base who kept “liking” every damn stupid thing I posted. My decision to quit my own superstar personal profiles that I had painstakingly created over the years, was based on my idea of building a better alternative to the current social media. A place where experiences and knowledge are given more reverberance than pouts and bare bodies. A place where ads that are shown to you on social media eventually credit money into your account thus leading to a universal basic income with technology and social media as its source. While I get set to release the bet version of this by end of 2020, it is important to note that had I listened to everyone on not quitting social media when having such successful profiles, I would have never set myself on inventing something that could change the world. While I still struggle with not taking things personally from people I love and appreciate, I can assure you with experience, this is one of the most powerful agreements you can make with yourself that will lead you to newer roads and pathways that your heart truly wants. After all, the courage to stand up for oneself is the highest act of self- empathy.
Agreement 3: Don’t Make Assumptions
The interview you applied for has not yet gotten back to you. What do you assume?
Your teenage daughter has gone out partying and is not yet home. What do you assume?
Your spouse has been aloof and coming home late these days. What do you assume?
Your employee has been slacking in performance as compared to others. What do you assume?
You assume nothing.
The third agreement, which perhaps might be the most powerful of the four, focuses on avoiding your stint at being a mind reader and assuming the actions of others with your own conclusions. It recommends instead to have a strong presence of mind so that one can ask the right questions by honestly communicating what one feels or perceives as a discontent. Many people fear asking questions or expressing how they truly feel, most often because their assumptions have clouded their clear thinking with so much negativity that it paralyzes valid reasoning. Personally, this has been a highly empowering addition to my life. I still assume at times, however, each time I do find myself forming assumptions that are simply amazing and positive. And very strangely, those positive assumptions have paved the way for them to be a reality.
Agreement 4: Always Do Your Best
This does not even need to be an agreement but a way of life. What is the point of doing something if you do not give your best? The fourth agreement brings forward the importance of eliminating any form of self-judgment and wholeheartedly pouring oneself in anything at hand. By incorporating the first three agreements along with the vow of giving one´s best paves way for a life free of regret, sorrow, or self-sabotage and sets you on the course for realizing your full potential. Personally, this agreement has been a personal agreement with myself since way before reading these four agreements. And trust me, there is nothing more rewarding than knowing you have and will continue to give your best.