The Four Agreements is a great book for anyone having the desire to make changes to their lives. I’ve read this book and also listened to it on audible. I personally thought the audible version was better. It’s a very easy listen.
This book is short, quick and to the point. Not a lot of added fluff once you get past the intro. Just full of great examples and actionable steps.
The four agreements is one of those books that you get something new from each time you listen to it or read it.
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Your Old Agreements
We all contain the judge and the victim within us. We spend all day judging ourselves and our actions and inactions and then feeling bad about ourselves. This cycle continues day after day, year after year.
The four agreements explains the why behind this thinking. How we have been programmed since birth to sabotage our desires and dreams by our thoughts.
It gives us the ability to have a new way of thinking and doing in all areas of our lives. Changing how we think and the thoughts we have is the only way to create a new outcome.
We need to stop trying to please everyone around us. Acting the part we believe others want from us. Pretending we are something we are not. Wanting acceptance from others so bad that we don’t even know who we are anymore.
We must challenge these inner beliefs we have about ourselves. Realize these beliefs or agreements we have don’t serve us. They only create a hell we feel like we can’t break free from.
The way to break free from these negative and self limiting thoughts is found in each of the four agreements. As we begin to incorporate each of these agreements into our lives it sets us free and gives us the ability to live a more positive life.
The New Agreements
The First Agreement
Be Impeccable with your word
We must realize the power and impact the words we say have on ourselves and those around us.
We use the word to curse, to blame, to find guilt, to destroy. Of course, we also use it in the right way, but not too often. Mostly we use the word to spread our personal poison — to express anger, jealousy, envy, and hate.”The Four Agreements
We use the word to create hate between different races, between different people, between families, between nations. We misuse the word so often, and this misuse is how we create and perpetuate the dream of hell. Misuse of the word is how we pull each other down and keep each other in a state of fear and doubt.”The Four Agreements
Your word has the power to create. Your word can create beauty or destruction. It can set you free or it can enslave you.
It allows the opinions of others to color how you feel or act. The opinions you voice to others can have the same impact on them.
We talk to ourselves constantly and most of the time we say things like, “Oh, I look fat, I look ugly. I’m getting old, I’m losing my hair. I’m stupid, I never understand anything. I will never be good enough, and I’m never going to be perfect.” Do you see how we use the word against ourselves? We must begin to understand what the word is and what the word does.”The Four Agreements
You will learn how being impeccable with your word not only with others, but to yourself, makes you immune to the poison that is created by these words.
The Second Agreement
Don’t take anything personally
How people treat you is a projection of themselves. It has nothing to do with you. We feel like everything is about us. It’s not. We allow others opinions and actions to become a reflection of how we feel about ourselves.
We even take what we say in our own minds personally. This is simply our old programming. Don’t take it personally.
Side Note: 2 ways to change your thoughts
Focus on something else.
Focus on a different thought or give yourself a distraction. Make it a habit of noticing what thoughts you are having. Replace any negative thoughts with a thought that is positive and uplifting.
Take control of your mind
It is helpful to separate this inner lying voice, this inner critic from who you really are by giving it a name. I call mine Nancy. Whenever she starts harassing me I just have a little chat with her. Let her know she is not being helpful. This is a great way of taking control of your thoughts.
When you make it a strong habit not to take anything personally, you avoid many upsets in your life. Your anger, jealousy, and envy will disappear, and even your sadness will simply disappear if you don’t take things personally.”The Four Agreements
The Third Agreement
Don’t make assumptions
We are constantly making assumptions throughout our day. We make assumptions about what others are doing, thinking, saying, and feeling. Then we take those things personally.
- Someone walks past you without smiling, or drives past without waving. They are mad at me. They don’t like me anymore.
- Your husband or boyfriend doesn’t call when he’s running late. He doesn’t really love me. If he really loved me he would call.
- You don’t get a promotion at work. My boss doesn’t like me. The person who got the promotion only got it because they (FILL IN THE BLANK).
- You get cut-off in traffic. What a jerk.
We create a story in our minds about why others act a certain way, what they say, and how they say it.
Then we create these huge running dialogues in our minds about the whole situation. We get upset. We get our feelings hurt. We create emotional turmoil that just ruins our day.
The truth, when we do take the time to learn it, is usually far different than the drama we have created in our minds.
We assume others think and feel the same way we do. We assume our partners should know what we want from them.
When we don’t understand something, we make assumptions about it instead of asking questions to clarify it.
Learn to communicate and ask questions. The reality is usually much different than the assumptions we make.
With clear communication, all of your relationships will change, not only with your partner, but with everyone else. You won’t need to make assumptions because everything becomes so clear.The Four Agreements
The Fourth Agreement
Always do your best
Always strive to do your best in every aspect of your life. This does not mean working harder or longer. It is simply doing your best in each moment.
Your best changes from moment to moment depending on your energy, health, and emotional state at the time.
Just do your best — in any circumstance in your life. It doesn’t matter if you are sick or tired, if you always do your best there is no way you can judge yourself. And if you don’t judge yourself there is no way you are going to suffer from guilt, blame, and self-punishment.The Four Agreements
Doing your best by taking action in your life without expecting a reward. This is what will bring you joy.
Most of us are just slogging through work all week until we have the reward of our weekend off. We work for the reward of the paycheck that is never enough, and our days off, which are never long enough.
We waste 5 out of seven days of our lives not truly living. Learn to live those other 5 days. Make the most out of your life. Take action each day to do your best. Do your best at living your life fully.
Action is about living fully. Inaction is the way that we deny life. Inaction is sitting in front of the television every day for years because you are afraid to be alive and to take the risk of expressing what you are. Expressing what you are is taking action. 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.The Four Agreements
The Toltec Path to Freedom
This is my favorite chapter of The Four Agreements. This chapter will teach you what true freedom is and how you can attain it.
What does it mean to be truly free to be you? I will let you read this chapter on your own to discover the answer. Freedom means something different for everyone.
I would like to encourage you to read or listen to this book. For me, it answered so many questions I have had in my own life as to why I do the things I do. And why those things don’t work.
It goes a step further by giving me the tools to change those things in my life. The biggest changes I’ve seen in my own life since reading this book are:
- Being aware of the power of my words. How my words not only affect others but also myself.
- Being more aware of the inner dialogue in my own mind and being able to redirect my thoughts.
- Not taking things personally. Reminding myself that I don’t know all the facts.
- I ask more questions to clarify situations. Instead of reacting, I ask questions to make sure I understand the situation completely.
- I have more enjoyment in my life. Even at my day job, I have really learned to enjoy my day.
I’m not perfect at any of these things. But everytime we read a book like this, it helps us grow. It reminds us of what’s important in life. It reminds us to live. Not letting life just pass us by.