The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (English) Don Miguel Ruiz

Introduction

Don’t you miss being a child? Don’t you miss being happy all the time and free of obligations? Well, you can be happy and live a peaceful life even as an adult. Just because you have responsibilities doesn’t mean that you have to be miserable.This book will help you achieve the same happiness you enjoyed as a child.  With this book, you will learn about regaining joy in your life. You may not even be aware that now, you may be living a life that is not truly your own.In this book, you will learn how to open your eyes to the reality of the collective dream. You will discover that the dreams you have now are not yours, but rather the product of your society. HI, my name is { speaker name }. i AM Public speaker, co-author and a Teacher.
 
So, you will learn how to break free of the social norms that are controlling your life. First, you will learn how to use your words to do good things in society. Since words have power, you will learn how to use their power to send positive energy within you and around you.You will also learn that most people say things just because they want to. If someone says something that hurts you, usually it is not intentional and you must learn how to let go and how to stop taking anything personally.Sometimes our pain is created by the assumptions that we make about the world. We expect people to behave a certain way and when they don’t, we get disappointed. This habit needs to change. This book will teach you how to stop making assumptions and live a drama-free life.
 
The book will also help you do your best. You will learn that doing your best is not hard. You just need to practice. The result may not always be perfect, but with time, your best will be something that you are proud of.You will also learn the principles of the Toltec mentality. It will guide you towards better awareness, better transformation, and better intentions.This book is a call for change. It is proof that you can create the life you want just by taking a few steps. These steps may be hard, but they are your only way towards personal freedom and your new dream

Domestication and the Dream of the Planet

Have you ever wondered where your dreams come from? Are they your own desire? Or are they influenced by the wants of someone else?Since childhood, you were born into a world where all the rules have been set for you. You were conditioned to behave and think in a certain way. You may feel like you are your own person, but if you look deeply, you are just the result of your social norms.Let’s take the example of Sam. Before Sam was born, his parents have been living in a particular style. They have prepared everything for him, even the way he must think.
 
When Sam is born he finds his family, his neighborhood, his school, and everything around him already standing firm. These are strong institutions that he can’t fight, and so he grows up to think just like his mother and his school teacher.Even if Sam wants to rebel, society will win in the end. Social norms have been around for a very long time, even before Sam existed, so he can’t win against them.Think of Sam’s mind like a book that has thousands of rules and laws. These laws are the ones responsible for his every move. They dictate everything, even the way he judges right from wrong.
 
But how was this book of laws created in the first place? When Sam was young, his mother used to reward him whenever he did something right, and she used to punish him when he did something wrong. That’s how it all started.But the question is: good or bad according to whom? Sam’s mother was judging everything according to the way her mother taught her, and the list goes on.
 
We keep living in the same circle following the same set of rules as the society before us.We don’t have beliefs of our own, and we can’t have dreams of our own because we are ruled by society. Whether we like it or not, we live and follow what society dictates.So what is the solution? The only way to live a life that is truly our own is to break free from the laws that have been engraved into our brains. We need to start forming new agreements with ourselves.When you make agreements with yourself, you are creating your own personality. In order to be who you want to be and to have dreams that are totally and uniquely your own, you need to talk to yourself.

The First Agreement: Be Impeccable With Your Word

Do you remember a time when you were young and happy, you told your mother a joke, and her response was “Shut up! You are not funny.”? Ever since that time, you became uncomfortable telling jokes to anyone because you made an agreement with yourself that day that you are not a funny person.Our words are very powerful. Whenever we judge ourselves or judge someone else, we are creating a powerful decision. If you tell someone that he or she is stupid, that person may believe that he or she is really stupid unless another person comes along and changes this belief.You have to be careful with your own words. Don’t say the things that will hurt you or hurt someone else, instead use positive words and try to create positive energy within you and around you.
 
Let’s take the example of a mother coming home tired. Imagine, she had a long day at work and all she wants to do is to take some rest. The problem is that she has a young daughter who is happy and energetic that day.The two come home and they get inside the house. While the mother is looking forward to reaching the sofa and lying down to relax, but her daughter is faster and reaches the sofa first. Instead of sitting down, she begins jumping up and down on the sofa because she is excited and happy. This is the nature of children, to sing at the top of their lungs when they are happy. At first, the mother is patient, and she ignores her daughter, but the girl follows her mother around the house, continuing to sing loudly.At last, the mother loses her patience and screams at her daughter that she has a terrible voice, and she asks her to shut up and to never sing again.
 
Although the voice of the daughter was very beautiful, she decided to stop singing. In that moment, the child made an agreement with herself that her voice was ugly, and no one should hear her sing.And so, the daughter stopped singing and even avoided speaking because she believed that her voice was ugly. She grew up to be shy and uncomfortable around people.Without realizing the effect of her words, the mother created a complex for her child. She didn’t know that her words were powerful.The mother was just tired and angry, but the daughter was young and fragile.We may believe that we can say whatever we want, but our words have power: they can hurt or help others to be better versions of themselves.Stop saying negative comments and do not gossip. Instead, encourage other people with your words, use compliments because they can help someone feel hopeful and believe good things about themselves. Take responsibility for your words, and use them for good.

The Second Agreement: Don’t Take Anything Personally

In the previous chapter, we discussed the importance of words and how powerful they can be. A comment that you are not good enough can affect you for life. However, you need to break free and learn not to take anything personally.Remember that the words that a person says are just his own opinions; they are not necessarily the truth. They are the manifestation of the thoughts and agreements that they have made with himself. He can’t hurt unless you allow him to.If you take everything you hear personally, you will be living in sadness your entire life. People look at you differently when they are happy and when they are sad, so don’t allow them to ruin your life just because they are feeling down.
 
For example, if your boss is happy today, he will tell you that you are the most productive employee the company has ever had. And when he is not in a good mood, he will tell you that you are the worst employee.If you let his words influence you, you will be miserable when he is mad, and you will only do your best when your boss is happy. The same example applies to everything.When you take things personally, you are living in the eyes of other people. Instead of living for yourself, you are depending on the words of others.
 
You will be hurt if someone says mean things to you, and you will be destroyed when they lie to you. Instead, you need to be confident with yourself.You should not get angry or sad, but remember that people only lie because they are afraid that you may judge them. And they lie because they lie even to themselves, so why get hurt?You need to free yourself from the laws of society and start creating your own. First, this book taught you that you need to be accountable for your words. Now, it is asking you to love yourself more.Don’t let people hurt you just because they can, otherwise they will never stop. Don’t be a victim; be a free soul that doesn’t care for anyone’s opinion. Do this not because people don’t matter to you, but because they are judging you based on their belief system, not yours.So starting today, make an agreement with yourself:don’t take anything personally. Comments from people are just opinions, they are not laws.

The Third Agreement: Don’t Make Assumptions

Another way that we unintentionally hurt ourselves is by making assumptions. When we see people, we assume that we know what they are going through, we judge them, and we expect them to behave the way we have created in our mental image.When people behave in a different way from what we assumed, we get hurt. This is just like taking everything personally. We are creating misery for ourselves just because we were raised to do so.If we take relationships as an example, we find that most couples fight all the time because they assume their other half understands them better than they do.
 
They assume that the other half should know better and do better. The husband may leave the house happy, leaving his wife happy as well, then he might come home to find something totally different. Perhaps the wife is angry because of something, although there has been no change with the husband. He returns home to find his wife looking at him with angry eyes, because she expects something from him and assumes the husband is awareThe wife has created a whole movie in her brain just out of assumptions. Reality may be a different thing, but she can’t see clearly because of her assumptions.The wife created a story, she believed the story, and now she is making problems out of an imaginary story.
 
It is the worst thing a relationship can suffer from: you can leave the house without knowing what you are coming home to. It can ruin a marriage, or any relationship, even a friendship.The only solution to this problem is communication. People need to talk to each other more. They need to stop expecting the other person to know what the problem is.Expressions like “you should have known” must be deleted from your dictionary.Start talking to people. Try to understand the way they think.
 
More importantly, give them a chance to understand you. Don’t just assume that they know. Tell them what you want and what you don’t want. Speak up your opinions.Just like you should stop taking anything personally, you need to avoid making assumptions about people. Be positive, only speak positive words, and make an agreement with yourself to cut the drama by not assuming anything from anyone anymore. You deserve to live a life which is free from assumptions.

The Fourth Agreement: Always Do Your Best

In the previous chapters, we discussed the importance of making three agreements with yourself. First, you need to decide to be careful with your own words. Second, you need to stop taking any comment personally. And third, you have to stop making assumptions about people.For these agreements to work, you need to take action. Not just any actions, but you need to do your best with anything that you do. This is the fourth agreement: Always do your best.Your best may not always be of high quality because you have different energy levels.
 
Your energy will depend on the time of the day, your health, and your mood. So if your best isn’t good enough, you don’t need to worry. With practice, you will learn how to do good quality work even when you are tired.Once upon a time, there was a man named Kai who was tired of his sad life. Kai wanted to be happy, so he decided to go to a Buddhist temple.There he found the Master. Kai approached the Master and asked for help. Kai said that life was difficult, and he wanted to let go of all his suffering and live a happy life.He also asked the Master how long he should meditate in order to achieve happiness. Would four hours of meditation a day be good enough to heal the pain of his past life?
 
The Master answered that if Kai meditated for four hours a day, it would take him ten years to heal and live the happy life he wants. Kai didn’t want that answer; ten years was longer than he expected and he was in a hurry to change. So he asked the Master again, will eight hours of meditation a day be better?The Master said that if he meditated eight hours a day, he would heal in twenty years. Kai was surprised because meditating more would actually take him even longer to reach the happiness he wanted.He asked the Master why it would take longer? The Master answered with a calm and firm voice. He explained that it would take Kai longer to heal because he would spend all his time meditating and would forget to live and enjoy his life. That’s why he would be miserable even with meditation.
 
The Master taught Kai a lesson that he never forgot;  it doesn’t matter how long you meditate, as long as you are doing your best then you will be happy, even if you meditate for one hour a day.The most important thing to remember is never to forget to live. Always live your life to the fullest and do your best at everything. Don’t work for the results, but work because you enjoy working. Only then can you find true happiness in life. 

The Toltec Path to Freedom: Breaking Old Agreements

The book established early on that humans are living in constraints. We are not living our truth because we were conditioned by society to think and behave in a certain way. We need to break free and be truthful to ourselves.The only way to do that is to break old habits. We need to free ourselves of everything that is holding us back and try to return to a way of being pure and straightforward. We can follow the Toltec example.To be a Toltec is to rise above all social rules. There is no book of laws in your brain that is holding you back and no judge is dictating every move in your subconscious mind.You are totally free to be who you are and to follow your true dreams. Your own dreams are your personal truth. These are not the dreams that society has decided for you ever since you were a child.
 
To follow the Toltec path, you need to master three principles. First, you need to raise your awareness. It’s impossible for someone to change if she doesn’t know who she is. So, first you must be aware of who you are and what you really want from life. Don’t be just a follower. You must be the one in control.Second, you have to master your own transformation. If you don’t focus on yourself and your own habits, you can get lost. Be the master of your own habits and your life will never be the same again.Don’t let society dictate what you should and should not do.Third, you need mastery of intent. You have to know that your intentions have energy. Whatever you want and whatever you focus on will send out signals, so if your intent is unconditional love and only positivity, everyone and everything around you will be positive, too.
 
By mastering these three principles, you are taking a step towards personal freedom. Remember when we were children, and all we cared about was having fun and playing? We were pure and simple and we only knew how to love and explore and enjoy life to the fullest.As children, we had no past judging us wherever we went. We also had no future making us worry about every detail in our life. We were just living a happy life.That’s how we should be even as adults. That’s why we need to break free of our social domestication and create our own path. This path must be beautiful and happy, with no laws to hold us back. Instead, we should move forward and enjoy every moment of our lives.If you cherish yourself, then you need to reconsider the four agreements discussed in this book. You deserve to be free and happy. So start now, and start the right way!

Conclusion

In this book, you learned about the Four Agreements. First, be careful with your words. Second, don’t take things personally. Third, don’t make assumptions. And fourth, always do your best.Life is all about perception.If you look at the world with a positive perspective, you will be happy, and you can create your own heaven on earth. But if you look at the world with a negative eye, you will be miserable forever.You can live in a world of your own creation and be the master of your own reality. Stop living in the past and stop worrying about the future.You need to trust in the power of your dreams.When you dream of only hope, you will be hopeful.You will see the world with colourful eyes, and you will be able to be happy even when life is hard.You need to use your imagination and look at the world with a new perception.
 
You are not living by the book of laws that was created by your life experiences anymore. You are free, and can make your own rules.The new dream that you have created for yourself is powerful, and you are in control. You can choose your words wisely, so that your words send out positive and supportive energy.You can also control your interpretation of any comment you receive. Don’t take things personally and stop making assumptions.Let us be free and start a new set of agreements with ourselves, agreements that are full of hope, full of self-control, and full of love.

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