Selling 8.5 million copies, “The Four Agreements” is a household name. Inspired by ancient Toltec wisdom, this book is a guide for welcoming more freedom, love and possibility into everyday life. It is a code of conduct to let go of self limiting beliefs so anyone learn how to embrace more joy in their life. Readers will learn how to reframe their thinking so they can take powerful steps in their self development journey.
My key Takeaways from “The Four Agreements - A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom" by Don Miguel Ruiz and Janet Mills
Takeaway #1 Domesticated by Society
The rules or 'social agreements' handed down by society domesticate us to living by the social norms not questioning why, just believing we have been taught correctly what is good and bad, right and wrong from parents, teachers, and our friends. As children we are rewarded for obeying and punished for disobeying, we learn not to overstep the mark, ultimately, we surrender so as not to feel rejected, blamed, or judged. Somewhere along the way, we don't need to be controlled anymore because we have learned the rules and abide by them, and when we don't we do a great job at punishing ourselves. It is possible to break free from the structure we've become so used to by making 4 new agreements with ourselves.
Takeaway #2 Be Impeccable With Your Word
Never use your words against others nor yourself. This means no more blaming, no more judging, and remembering how much power our words hold over us as well as others. Use words of love and encouragement instead of hate and blame. When you say something out of annoyance or anger the other person can believe that what you said is true and it can affect them for years to come, making them believe they can't do something or shouldn't act a certain way.
Takeaway #3 Don't Take Things Personally
Don't believe that everything is about you because that couldn't be further from the truth. Falling into the trap of personal importance comes from being domesticated by society but if you learn to step back and see it from the other persons point of view you can learn that they were acting from their own belief and their own point of view at that moment – It's about them, not you. When you know who you are and you love and trust yourself you won't take the opinions of others so much to heart.
Takeaway #4 Don't Assume
How many times have you thought there was a problem when there wasn't? Making assumptions causes problems, and more often than not they're based on nothing but our wild imaginations. It's not only with other people where we make assumptions but ourselves too, assuming we can't do something because we tried it once and failed. Stop assuming and start asking questions instead – Ask the other person if they're angry with you. Ask them if they could please help you with a certain task (remember that people are not mind readers), and question yourself – could you do that thing if you tried some more?
Takeaway #5 Always Do Your Best
This is 1 rule from childhood that does need to remain. If you give a task or goal all you've got and try your very hardest you've nothing to regret. It's vital that you do your best for your own sense of well being rather than because someone else wants you to. Work is a great example, when you are expected to do your best by your boss but you don't feel motivated or passionate you will struggle. When you do your best because you're driven to, you will flourish.
The Four Agreements Chapters
Chapter One - Domestication and the Dream of the Planet
Chapter Two - The First Agreement Be Impeccable with Your Word
Chapter Three - The Second Agreement Don't Take Anything Personally
Chapter Four - The Third Agreement Don't Make Assumptions
Chapter Five - The Fourth Agreement Always Do Your Best
Chapter Six - The Toltec Path to Freedom Breaking Old Agreements
Chapter Seven - The New Dream Heaven on Earth
Chapter Eight - Prayers
Best Quotes from The Four Agreements
“The Four Agreements
1. Be impeccable with your word.
2. Don’t take anything personally.
3. Don’t make assumptions.
4. Always do your best. ”
“If someone is not treating you with love and respect, it is a gift if they walk away from you. If that person doesn't walk away, you will surely endure many years of suffering with him or her. Walking away may hurt for a while, but your heart will eventually heal. Then you can choose what you really want. You will find that you don't need to trust others as much as you need to trust yourself to make the right choices.”
“Whatever happens around you, don't take it personally... Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.”
“If others tell us something we make assumptions, and if they don't tell us something we make assumptions to fulfill our need to know and to replace the need to communicate. Even if we hear something and we don't understand we make assumptions about what it means and then believe the assumptions. We make all sorts of assumptions because we don't have the courage to ask questions.”
“I will no longer allow anyone to manipulate my mind and control my life in the name of love.”
“God is life. God is life in action. The best way to say, "I love you, God," is to live your life doing your best. The best way to say, "Thank you, God," is by letting go of the past and living in the present moment, right here and now. Whatever life takes away from you, let it go. When you surrender and let go of the past, you allow yourself to be fully alive in the moment. Letting go of the past means you can enjoy the dream that is happening right now.”
“Every human is an artist. The dream of your life is to make beautiful art.”
“If you live in a past dream, you don't enjoy what is happening right now because you will always wish it to be different than it is. There is no time to miss anyone or anything because you are alive. Not enjoying what is happening right now is living in the past and being only half alive. This leads to self-pity, suffering, and tears.”
“But it is not what I am saying that is hurting you; it is that you have wounds that I touch by what I have said. You are hurting yourself. There is no way I can take this personally.”
“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.”
"There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally.”
“You can have many great ideas in your head, but what makes the difference is the action. Without action upon an idea, there will be no manifestation, no results, and no reward”
― Don Miguel Ruiz and Janet Mills - The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom
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Editor and Founder
Tal Gur is a location independent entrepreneur, author, and impact investor. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His most recent book and bestseller, The Art of Fully Living - 1 Man, 10 Years, 100 Life Goals Around the World, has set the stage for his new mission: elevating the next generation of leaders to their true potential.