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

— Don Miguel Ruiz

Don Miguel Ruiz practiced as a neurosurgeon in Tijuana, Mexico until he was in a near-fatal car crash. The crash led him to a new path as a spiritual teacher. His teaching is based on the Toltec mythology and scientific knowledge. He has touched millions of people through his teaching and writing, including through his book, The Four Agreements.

Be Impeccable with Your Word

The first agreement that Ruiz sets up is “Be impeccable with your word.”

I see that people struggle with this, and they wind up hurting the people around them. So what does it mean to be impeccable with your word? It means that if you say you are going to do something you do it.

The most common example is when you have a group of friends who asked you to come hang out with them on Friday night. They’re going to one friend’s house to watch movies. You say, “That sounds great. I’ll be there.”

But the next day, your other group of friends, let’s call them Team A, invites you to join them on Friday night. Their plans sound so much cooler than watching movies with Team B, so you say, “That sounds great. I’ll be there.” And in your mind, you begin making reasons and excuses that you’ll tell Team B for why you aren’t hanging out with them.

The key with this scenario is that you gave your word. You told Team B that you would be there, which sounds really simple, but it matters that you gave your word. Follow through every time you commit to doing something.

Always Do Your Best

Ruiz closes the agreements with “Always do your best.”

Again, this seems like a simple thing, but it can be difficult to practice. We might let our best slide when we are feeling really busy, or if we’ve been putting something off and find ourselves up against a deadline. We might also not do our best on some assignment or task that we think isn’t very important.

Although there are many reasons that we might not do our best, it is worth doing your best at everything you do. Be careful with your time and what you commit to so that you have the time and energy to do your best at what you choose to do.

In everything you try, at school, work, and home, with your friends and your family, do your best. You’ll be amazed at how often that’s all you needed.

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