One of the most circulated personal development books in the past quarter century is “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. The book premise is that the path to a life of success and happiness is achieved when we make and keep the four agreements
I believe in the power of living the agreements! I taught a group of clients (or re-taught for most) the four agreements recently and Chris Suarez shared them as a leadership lesson with our Xperiential MBA group.
In the small Xperiential MBA group discussion someone posed the question – does living the agreements really lead to success? He didn’t think it necessarily did. Happiness & peace absolutely… and maybe success; just not necessarily.
I argued that living these four agreements is a gateway to living a happy, fulfilled and successful life.
Let’s review the agreements, as written by Don Miguel Ruiz.
Agreement 1: Be Impeccable with Your Word
This means to not use your word against yourself. Our mind is like a fertile garden and our word is like seeds. When we are impeccable with our word, we plant seeds of love and joy for ourselves and others. When we’re not impeccable, seeds of fear & doubt are present in ourselves.
The result of being impeccable is that we speak well of ourselves and of others. We do what we say we’re going, which creates more confidence in us.
The author sums it up with this: “You can measure the impeccability of your word by your level of self-love. How much you love yourself and how you feel about yourself are directly proportional to the quality and integrity of your word.”
Agreement 2: Don’t Take Anything Personal
You take the things people say or even what you say to yourself and make it true or at least mean something about you.
When you take things personally, it causes you to be offended. Our response to offense is to defend your beliefs and create conflicts. Conflicts with others and within us.
Understand that other people are living in their own “dream” as Ruiz puts it. That means that whatever is said or you hear has nothing to do with you, only them.
Ruiz writes, when you don’t take anything personally “you won’t need to place your trust in what others do or say. You will only need to trust yourself to make responsible choices. You are never responsible for the actions of others; you are only responsible for you.”
Agreement 3: Don’t Make Assumptions
When we make an assumption we believe it to be the truth. It’s often not.
Ruiz contends that much of the problems that we live through are rooted in us making assumptions and then taking things personally.
Ruiz writes this: “We make the assumption that everyone sees life the way we do. We assume that others think the way we think, feel the way we feel, judge the way we judge, and abuse the way we abuse. This is the biggest assumption that humans make. And this is why we have a fear of being ourselves around others. So even before others have a chance to reject us, we have already rejected ourselves.”
Not making assumptions we are open to experiencing life as it really is.
Agreement 4: Always Do Your Best
This one simply stated, is that regardless of how you’re doing, keep doing your best. No more or no less than your best at every moment.
Ruiz describes what it looks like to do your best: “Doing your best, you are going to live your life intensely. You are going to be productive, you are going to be good to yourself, because you will be giving yourself to your family, to your community, to everything. But it is the action that is going to make you feel intensely happy.”
Back my argument around will these actually make you successful or only happy and peaceful.
Because each of us measures success in our own unique way, following these four agreements will make us successful on our terms.
When we only speak impeccably of ourselves – we cultivate the mindset to succeed. When we don’t take anything personally – we don’t allow others to negatively influence our positive actions. When we don’t make assumptions – we make up false truths that hold us back from success. When we do our best – we by default do the hard thing that will make us successful.
Yes, these agreements will make us successful! Go prosper, happily.