We continue our series with The Four Agreements, don Miguel Ruiz’s best-seller that describes agreements that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of true happiness, freedom and love.
The first three agreements might seem difficult to do. They may even seem impossible for us to do, he says!
But there is the fourth agreement. And it’s easy!
This is the agreement that makes everything possible, says Ruiz. Always do your best. Everyone can do their best and that’s it. Simple. No more. No less.
TAKING A STEP BACK
Let’s look at the other three agreements before we dig a little deeper into the fourth one – the one that will allow the other three to become deeply ingrained habits.
The first agreement, be impeccable with your word, means to speak with integrity and to carefully choose your words before saying them out loud.
Ruiz says that while this agreement is the most important, it is also the most difficult to adhere to. Once you understand the meaning and importance of the first agreement you can start to incorporate it into your life.
“How much you love yourself and how you feel about yourself are directly proportionate to the quality and integrity of your word. When you are impeccable with your word, you feel good; you feel happy and at peace,” says Ruiz.
Don’t take anything personally is the second agreement.
Ruiz says all the agreements we hold in our minds are based on beliefs we’ve consciously and subconsciously accepted, which form our worldview. What other people say, what they do, and the opinions they share are according to these agreements, which means that nothing other people do or say is because of you—it’s because of them. They are seeing things from their point of view, which is an opinion that is not necessarily true.
When we take things personally, we start overthinking and analysing, we create emotional suffering for ourselves.
The third agreement is don’t make assumptions. Our brains are designed to keep us safe, so when we have questions or are faced with uncertainty we make assumptions – it is not important that the answer is correct, just the answer itself makes us feel safe. We make all sorts of assumptions because we need answers. To honour this agreement, we need to find the courage to ask questions and to communicate with others as clearly as we can to avoid misunderstandings.
THE AGREEMENTS ARE ALL LINKED TOGETHER
When we don’t take anything personally and we don’t make assumptions, we can imagine that it is easier to be impeccable with our word. When we don’t make assumptions, we might find that we’re not taking things as personally as we were before, and vice versa.
The fourth agreement – always do your best – allows the first three agreements to become a habit and a way of life. With practice and repetition, it will be possible for you to master them.
Ruiz says your best will depend on whether you are feeling physically tired or refreshed. Your best will depend on how you are feeling emotionally. Your best is going to change over time, and as you form the habit of practising the Four Agreements, your best is going to get better!
10 WAYS TO DO YOUR BEST
- Listen to understand, not to answer
- Work with purpose
- Lead from within
- Be dependable by following through on your commitments
- Be kind and respectful
- Persevere with persistence – show up multiple times
- Ask for help or advice when you need it, manage your stress
- Treat every task as important and focus on the task at hand
“If you just do your best, there is no way you can judge yourself. And if you don’t judge yourself there is no way you are going to suffer from guilt, blame, and self-punishment.” – don Miguel Ruiz