Book Summary – “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz.
Based on the spiritual beliefs and teachings of the Toltec People, this book preaches that everything we do in life is based around agreements we make to ourselves, others and (for some) our god/s. The most important promises we must all keep are to ourselves, and by making the “Four Agreements” with ourselves every day, we lay the foundation for a happy, fulfilling, and free life.
The Toltecs were a civilisation that ruled the land now known as Mexico for 600 years before the Aztecs. The importance of being a “warrior” was a large part of their belief system, centring around the ‘fight’ we all undertake each day in our minds between positivity and negativity. The Toltec’s were known as warriors, builders and craftsmen. You can read the book here, for a summary and my hot-takes read on!
The Four Agreements:
- Be Impeccable with Your Word.
- Don’t Take Anything Personally.
- Don’t Make Assumptions.
- Always Do Your Best.
My key takeaways:
- Honour your promises, and above all be true to yourself. It can be so easy to tell yourself you’ll achieve something, only to convince yourself later that you don’t need to. Whether that’s getting to the gym, finishing today’s to-do list, or fixing my diet, I know that I will often make excuses for myself. What’s worse is that I buy them! I need to treat a promise to myself like I treat a promise to a loved one.
- Too often I don’t bother to collect all the facts before passing judgement on someone or something. I need to make a conscious effort to be aware of my preconceptions, my biases, and my assumptions.
- Bad habits have been ingrained in me by society since before I can remember, and I’m not falling anyone except myself if I think I can get shot of them without a conscious concerted effort.
- Trying my best does not mean smashing the ball out of the park with every attempt, hell it doesn’t even mean finishing every task I start. Your best is different every time, so if you are honest with yourself about the effort you’ve put in be happy with your rewards.
- Be brave. Ask the questions you are thinking that might lead to the uncomfortable conversations you need to have. Avoiding them is always going to be worse in the long run.
- Try to recognise the actions you take every day on autopilot. Are they working for you? Are they bettering your life? If not, what steps can you take to reduce/stop them?
- Treat a promise to yourself like a promise to a loved one.