Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements was published in 1997 and I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve read it only five or six times. This Toltec wisdom can be applied to anyone and is as useful in the workplace as it is in personal life.
I just read it again a couple weeks ago and still find it current and beneficial to my ultimate goal in life – meaningful happiness. We all have conflict to deal with, stresses to alleviate and bouts of suffering. I have always believed it important to not wallow in these moments of darkness but rather learn from them, choose to do what can be done about them and not worry about what can’t be controlled.
The Four Agreements probably isn’t the end-all to finding happiness, however it sure can help. It’s a big complex world out there and yet this book provides four simple concepts (agreements) to counteract pretty much any triggers to suffering.
If you haven’t read The Four Agreements yet, drop everything and fix that situation right away. And then read it again every six months. Don’t worry, you can knock it out in just a few hours. Following is the briefest summary of the four agreements as per toltecspirit.com.
- Be Impeccable with your Word:Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.
- 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.
- 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. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
- 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. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.
I am always surprised by the amount of insincerity, questionable ethics and lack of integrity in the business world, including the advertising industry. It doesn’t help when the leaders of our country are absolute failures in the first agreement. What kind of example of life is that? As a loving father of two boys, a loyal friend to many and the owner of Explore Communications, I can help my family, friends and coworkers thrive by living my life in a way they respect and admire. I mean the admiration to be motivational and inspirational for them to also seek their happiness. And sure, I’d like to be part of that in their life.
These four agreements provide a code of conduct that is so simple and yet difficult because it’s easy to slip into old habits. And it’s very difficult to change agreements we already have with ourselves because they were handed to us when we were children. We grew up with agreements and frankly some of them might be wrong and even detrimental to happiness. So, it’s important to recognize that we have choices. We can choose to break old agreements and accept new ones – we just have to do it with repetition. I’m trying. I recommend you try too.