The Four Agreements is a book by Don Miguel Ruiz which attempts to help the reader find happiness and love to lead to a more enjoyable life. This book, which was recommended to me by a friend, sat in my reading list for over a year before I decided to read it. I wish I would have read it sooner. It’s a great book that can help you try to live a happier, longer life through making four agreements with yourself. If you can keep to these four agreements, a happier life can’t help but to occur. If you cannot keep these four agreements, the book says you are putting poison out into the world and no good can come of that.
The First Agreement: Be Impeccable With Your Word
Woah…this is a tough one. What does impeccable mean? According to Merriam-Webster, “not capable of sinning or liable of sin; free from fault or blame.” When I hear the word “impeccable,” I always think, “without sin.” So, to be impeccable with your word is to speak with no sin of yourself. To be accountable for your actions and to not judge or blame yourself. The book goes into a deeper explanation and dive into this, but my take away was that we should be mindful of our words and actions in that we are not harming anyone or ourselves. This is a promise to ourselves to not judge or blame ourselves or others, and to treat others how we wish to be treated.
The Second Agreement: Don’t Take Anything Personally
People tend to think they are the center of the universe and they are responsible for everything. It’s always “Me, me, me.” They believe everything that happens is because of them, including what other people do. People do things because of themselves, not you, so don’t take it personally. I know this can be tough. If someone calls you an asshole, it may seem tough to not take that personally. I get it. My first response was always to defend myself. My ego would jump up and say, “oh hell no.” But through searching for happiness, reading this agreement, I understand that I can’t control what other people think about me and I need to be happy with myself. Holding myself to a standard that I believe is right and understanding hostile words or actions from others speak more about where they are in life than where I am.
People will say good and bad things to you. They will lie to you and tell you the truth. The point here is to not take anything personally. If someone says you are wonderful, that’s great, but don’t take it personally. You know you are wonderful and don’t need them to tell you. So, if they tell you that you are horrible, that’s okay too. Because you know you are not. The point here is that if you don’t take anything personally, nothing can offend you. Your ego does not take over. You are virtually invulnerable to others.
The Third Agreement: Don’t Make Assumptions
This is a tough one. We all have a tendency to make assumptions about everything every day. We do it subconsciously and most of the time are not even aware we have made them. We make assumptions about what people are thinking, what they are doing, or why they are doing it. We take it personally, believe our assumptions to be the truth, and have very bad thoughts about that person. We assume others think the way we do, or at least that they should think the way we do. We think “the right way,” and if they don’t, they are wrong and need to change.
We can remove assumptions from our minds by keeping the communication clear and open. You can ask questions to avoid assuming what someone is thinking and remove any negativity you are experiencing. When you can stop making assumptions, it makes it easier for your word to become impeccable.
The Fourth Agreement: Always Do Your Best
This agreement is about how you try to perform the first three agreements. Always try to do your best. You are not perfect, but you can always do your best. And when you do your best, you tend to improve. The more you do your best, the easier it will be to stick to these agreements. Now, since things are always changing, sometimes your best will be of the highest quality. But sometimes it will not be so great. Just keep at it and try to do your best. Doing your best will make you happy. So if you do what you love, and you do your best, then you will really enjoy life.
I thought The Four Agreements was a great little book which offered a very simple way to approach life with a focus on happiness. It helps identifies four simple agreements, that if you can truly follow, will help you live the happiest, fullest life you can. I don’t really literally live by these four agreements though. I used these agreements to help me establish some principles in my life to help me live my happiest, fullest life. This book helped push me in the direction of establishing my own principles to live by and can do the same for you.
It’s an easy book to read and easy to follow. There is some talk of the Toltecs, black magic, and poison, but don’t get hung up on that as what is really important is the underlying message that you can live a good life if you accept positive agreements or principles in your life to live by.
Give this book a shot. It’s a great book that may help you see how some of your thoughts and actions are never going to help you have a happier life. Ii can open your eyes. It sure opened mine!!!
If you are interested in this book, you can get it on Amazon by clicking on it here: