The Four Agreements – Part 4: “Always Do Your Best.”

Great, you are still there. How is it going? Don’t worry if there are setbacks, that’s normal.

Today, you will start to complete your journey to personal freedom.

“The fourth agreement is about the action of the first three: ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST”

When I read this for the first time, I was concerned that Ruiz wanted us readers to push ourselves constantly to our limits. Like a super athlete aiming for the gold medal at the next Olympics. But this is actually not the case.

I understand it basically as an appeal to a consistent application of the first three agreements. “As you build the habit of the four agreements, your best will become better than it used to be.”

Ruiz lays emphasize on the fact that our best varies: “Everything is alive and changing all the time, so your best will sometimes be high quality, and other times it will be not as good.”

I see today lots of people at work and in their free time acting like crazy to achieve certain goals which were actually set by other people. Ruiz encourages us not to do that, and I love the example he gives about the meditation in the Buddhist temple: “You are not here to sacrifice your joy or your life. You are here to live, to be happy, and to love.”

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The Four Agreements – A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (part 3)

How was your second week of walking the Toltec way?

I assume (!) it was great, and you are either desperately waiting for the third agreement or you have already bought the book (congratulations in that case).

Here we go:

The third agreement is: “Don’t make assumptions.”

“We make assumptions about what others are doing or thinking – we take it personally – then we blame them and react by sending emotional poison with our word.”

And “we are afraid to ask for clarification. (…) It is always better to ask questions than to make an assumption, because assumptions set us up for suffering.”

When I read this, I was immediately reminded of an encounter a few years back. I felt annoyed first, then emberrassed, and today I find it amusing:

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The Four Agreements – Part 2: “Don’t Take Anything Personally!”

Have you been impeccable with your word? Yes? Fantastic. But it was so hard? Sure it was.

Here’s the second agreement for you, warrior: “Don’t take anything personally.”

Well, haven’t we heard that before? Isn’t it easily said, but so difficult to do? I can tell you, I can be quite emotional and short-tempered at times – oh, let me correct: I was emotional and short-tempered!

Once you truly get the point that “NOTHING other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves” you will understand that this is the key to equanimity. You only take something personally “when you agree with whatever was said.” So just don’t. Really don’t.

“Whatever other people think or feel, it is their problem, not your problem. If someone get’s mad at you they are dealing with themselves. You are just the excuse for them to get mad. They get mad because they are dealing with fear.”

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The Four Agreements – A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (Part 1)

A couple of weeks back, a friend recommend “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz to me. And I am surprised with the effect reading this work had in my life. This book will truly change your life, if you apply the learnings properly.

“The first agreement is the most important one and also the most difficult one to honor:

 

BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD.”

When you seriously analyze it, you will realize how powerful language actually is. Ruiz calls it “the gift that comes directly from God.” It has the power to create – and to destroy. It can create visions, make dreams come true – and ruin whole nations like Hitler, Mao, and Pol Pot have taught us so drastically. It was all because of the word.

“Impeccability means without sin”, and “a sin is anything that you do which goes against yourself”, e.g. judging or blaming yourself. “Sin begins with rejection of yourself”.

Fascinating point to ponder, isn’t it?

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If Not Now, Then When? Stop Procrastinating and Take Immediate Action!

We all know this: there is a task at hand, and we convince ourselves that tomorrow or next week is still a good time to get it done. It can be a major undertaking like starting your own business, or just a small job, like cleaning up the room or bringing down the garbage. (Some people have successfully developed an intricate concept that keeps them from emptying the bin until pieces start overflowing… You would never do that, of course.)

However, sometimes we also procrastinate and postpone things that we would actually like to do. But because we think the timing is not right, we do not feel sufficiently prepared, or we are just not confident enough we prevent ourselves from taking the next steps.

One bitter encounter of postponing things in my life was visiting my grandaunt in her retirement home. She was so proud of moving into a brand-new room, and every weekend I had better things to do. – Until the day that I was notified that my grandaunt had died. I never saw her in her new room…

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