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The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom - Book Review

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Published April 17th 2013
The wisdom in this book is too great to be kept on pages
Some time ago, in a Brisbane cafe, I came across a book that changed my life. The book taught me four affirmations that I have found so empowering, I can't just keep them to myself.

I was waiting for my order. My sister had gone to the bathroom and, alone at our table, I tried to occupy myself. I re-read the menu, flicked through my phone apps, then I noticed a small bookshelf by the cafe counter and went to investigate.

There, wedged between some flyers and a stack of street magazines, I found a book. And started reading.

By the time my sister returned and our food was served, that small, shabby book had changed my mindset entirely.

The book was Don Miguel Ruiz's The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom. Almost as old as me, the book is about Toltec wisdom. Particularly, it explains four affirmations (or, the Four Agreements) which, despite their ancient roots, are immensely relevant to modern life.

The Four Agreements are:

1. Be impeccable with your word

What we say defines us.
This agreement is about striving to speak with integrity and to say only what you mean. Why waste your words on speaking out against yourself or others? Use the power of your words to spread truth and love.

2. Don't take anything personally

Though it can be one of the hardest things to accept, you are never the cause of what others do. What other people say and do is a projection of their own reality; what they do in the end is their decision. Immunity to the opinions and actions of others is freedom from needless suffering.

3. Don't make assumptions

It takes courage to ask questions and to express what you truly want. However, through just this one agreement - through ensuring you communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama - you can transform your life completely.

4. Always do your best

We all have those times when we think, that'll do. Your 'best' changes depending on your health, mood and as you develop new skills. However, by doing your best under any circumstance, you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

Everyone slips up from time to time and there have definitely been moments when I haven't stayed true to these agreements. Striving toward these four affirmations is indeed an effort. However, it is an effort that reaps amazing rewards.

Take this knowledge, share it, and enjoy the happiness that will without a doubt surround you.
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Why? A book can change your life. This is that book.
Your Comment
It's certainly empowering to follow these agreements. Thanks for the reminder.
by mirro (score: 0|6) 2947 days ago
A simple book with great wisdom! Thanks for bringing it to people's attention. I have a slightly different take on agreement 3 - just 'don't project' as you don't know what people are thinking.It's tempting to assume they're thinking something unflattering about us. See agreement 2! However, what they're thinking is 98.5% purely to do with them, not us! Roughly! So don't project/assume - it's just guesswork & will only cause you pain which is probably irrelevant! Sheila G
by ginns (score: 1|19) 2948 days ago
sounds like a good book. this kinda reminds me of how i feel about a book called 'the alchemist.'
by nashd (score: 0|3) 2949 days ago
Such simple affirmations, yet so easy to forget in day-to-day life. Thanks for the reminder!
by roses (score: 0|3) 2936 days ago
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