You know those books that make your mind start on a quest? Those self-helpy manifestos that prompt us to search out the magic path leading from where we are now to where we could be if we just ______(fill in the blank).
The Four Agreements, by don Miguel Ruiz’, is not that book.
As you will see below, these are some heavy agreements. The beauty of Miguel Ruiz is that he’s convincing without being preachy about it. At its heart, this book is about living a life of integrity.
It’s been my experience that integrity is easy to think about but much harder to practice on a daily basis.
The Four Agreements are:
1. Be impeccable with your word.
Writers are keenly aware of the importance of words. Choose them wisely and work to be diligent in meaning what you say. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
This is the number one agreement and, according to Ruiz, if you follow this, your life will be measurably happier. Make just this one change and receive a vast return.
The next three combine together to help you keep agreement #1.
2. Don’t take anything personally.
Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. Following this principle cuts down on the pain and amps up the love, giving you that much more energy to achieve the goals and passions that are important to you.
3. Don’t make assumptions.
A challenge to our beliefs can give us that squinchy feeling in the belly (that’s fear, my friends, plain and simple). In essence the challenge makes us feel unsafe.
Whether it’s our family, our friends or – heaven forbid – our boss, we must be brave enough to ask questions and express what we really want. It takes a great deal of courage to challenge our own beliefs and translate that new knowledge into words and actions.
4. Always do your best.
When you always do your best, you take action. Doing your best is taking the action because you love it, not because you’re expecting a reward. Doing your best ensures that you live your life intensely and without regret.
That rockstar mom of mine always told me, “If you do your best, that’s good enough for me.” I’m feeling lucky today that I was blessed with a mama like that.
My favorite line in the book was: It is not the stars that create light but rather light that creates the stars.
I believe wholeheartedly that, with little changes in the way we live our own lives, we have the ability to illuminate the world (or at least our own tiny corner of it). I hope you’ll share with the rest of us what you’re doing to improve your own community.
I’m off to go generate some light!