As a reader I read lots of books that are sometimes complex and take too long and too many pages to make a simple point. Then there are times I run across little gems that are quick reads with a strong, straight to the point message.
On of my most recent reads The Four Agreements was one of the latter. It was a quick read with a powerful straight to the point message with very specific action steps. I guess that is why it was on the New York Times Bestsellers list for over seven years.
You can find the book here http://www.amazon.com/Four-Agreements-Practical-Personal-Freedom/dp/1878424319
The author outlines four basic agreements that we all must have with ourselves. These agreements are between you and you. Which means you can control them.
Here are my notes as well as mini book summary of the book itself.
- The need for attention is something that all adults have and is something that is ingrained in us in childhood.
- Most of the agreements that we have accepted in our lives were established when we were young. Think about it, you accepted your own name. You had no decision in your own name.
- Children don’t usually get to choose their own beliefs. Instead we accept the beliefs of our parents or others as we are growing up.
- To be alive is the biggest fear humans have. Death is not the biggest fear we have; our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive–the risk to be alive and express what we are. We have learned to live our lives trying to satisfy other people’s demands. We have learned to live by other peoples point of view because of the fear of not being accepted and of not being good for someone else.
- The way we judge ourselves is the worst judge that ever existed.
The First Agreement: Be Impeccable with your word.
- The word is a force; it is the power you have to express and communicate, to think, and thereby to create events in your life. You can speak. What other animal on earth can speak? The word is the most powerful tool you have as a human.
- The word can kill millions of people or save millions of people. Choose your words carefully.
- Impeccability means “without sin”. A sin is anything that you do which goes against yourself.
- So when you are impeccable you do not do anything that goes against yourself.
- Self-Rejection is a mortal sin, this is the sin that most humans inflict on themselves.
- Changes must first occur with yourself so later you can make changes on how you deal with others.
- What you say to yourself and how you say things to yourself is why you must be impeccable with your words. Never do yourself harm with your words.
The second agreement: Don’t take anything personally.
- Personal importance, or taking things personally, is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about me.
- Nothing other people do is because of you.
- 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. When you truly understand this, and refuse to take things personally, you can hardly be hurt by the careless comments or actions of others.
- By following this second agreement you avoid many upsets in your life. Your anger, jealousy, and envy will disappear.
The third agreement: Don’t make assumptions
- We all have the tendency to make assumptions about everything. The problem with making assumptions is that we believe they are the truth.
- We make assumptions about what other people are thinking or doing–we take it personally, then we blame them by reacting.
- When you make assumptions, you are asking for problems.
- The whole war of control between humans is about making assumptions and taking things personally. Our whole dream of hell is based on that.
- We create a lot of emotional poison just by making assumptions and taking things personally.
- We make assumptions because we don’t have the courage to ask questions.
- We overestimate and underestimate ourselves because of the assumptions we have made.
- If others change, it’s because they want to change, not because you can change them.
The fourth agreement: Always do your best
- This fourth agreement allows the other three to become deeply ingrained habits.
- Under all circumstances always do your best.
- Remember that your best will and can vary depending on that moment.
- When you always do your best you learn to accept yourself.
- Action is about living fully. Inaction is the way we deny life.
There is no way. If you are impeccable with your word, if you don’t take anything personally, if you don’t make assumptions, if you always do your best, then you are going to have a beautiful life. You are going to control your life 100 percent.
- Who stops is from being free? We blame the government, we blame the weather, we blame our parents, we blame religion, we blame God. Who really stops us from being free? We stop ourselves.
- Awareness is always the first step because if you are not aware, there is nothing you can change. If you are not aware that your mind is full of wounds, and emotional poison, you cannot begin to clean and heal the wounds and you will continue to suffer.
- First Mastery of Awareness: This is to be aware who we really are, with all the possibilities,. The second is Mastery of Transformation–how to change, how to be free of domestication. The third Mastery of Intent. Intent from the point of view is that part of the transformation of energy is possible; it is the one living being that seamlessly encompasses all energy, or what we call God. Intent is life itself; it is unconditional love. The Mastery of Intent is therefore the Mastery of Love.
- Forgiveness is the only way to heal. We can choose to forgive because we feel compassion for ourselves.
- It is the emotions that control the behavior of the human, not the human who controls the human.
- Maybe we cannot escape from the destiny of the human, but we have a choice: to suffer or to live and be happy. To live in hell, or to live in heaven.
As I read this book I was reminded that when I apply these four agreements everyday that I will live a happier and less complex life. These four agreements are areas that I have full control over in my life.
To your success and your future.