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Book Summary: “The Four Agreements”, by Don Miguel Ruiz

Note: This resource is part of our Moving the Bar in Your Career and Your Life, a unique approach to professional development series: My 3 Ps: Passion, Purpose, Potential. Click here to see the entire series.

Last year, a friend and colleague of mine, Harvey Smith in Charlotte, mentioned that this book is one of his favorites, having read it countless times. I finally had a chance to read it and thoroughly enjoyed and got a lot out of it.

Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements offers a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love.

Thousands of years ago, throughout southern Mexico, the Toltec were scientists and artists who formed a society to explore and conserve the spiritual knowledge and practices of the ancient ones.

Attention is the ability we have to discriminate and to focus only on that which we want to perceive. Growing up, the adults around us hooked our attention and put information into our minds through repetition. That is the way we learned everything we know. Leveraging who we are and what we know, we can make agreements with ourselves to improve who we are, how we behave, and the results we achieve.

The First Agreement – Be Impeccable With Your Word

Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using words to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth, of what is good, and what you want. Choose your words carefully in what you say to others, as well as what you say internally to yourself.

The Second Agreement – 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 and worrying. You can simply say, "next".

The Third Agreement – 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. You have to learn to ask for what you want with conviction and confidence. Others cannot read your mind. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

The Fourth Agreement – 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. It will be different from day to day. Under any circumstance, simply do your best and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

"As you build the habit of the four new agreements, your best will become better than it used to be."