The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Miguel Ruiz

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

In The Four Agreements, don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, the Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love. The Four Agreements are: Be Impeccable With Your Word, Don't...

Title:The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:1878424505
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:168 pages

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom Reviews

  • Suz
    Sep 17, 2007

    This is my second time reading this book and I picked it up again because I felt I was compromising too much in my life and it was affecting my core. I have a chapter to go but here's the summary:

    The book cites four agreements that, with practice, will lead you to a happier state of living, essentially and dramatically, lead you out of your living hell. The idea is focused 100% on you. You can only control yourself and only honor yourself.

    1. Be impeccable with your word. Your word is your power

    This is my second time reading this book and I picked it up again because I felt I was compromising too much in my life and it was affecting my core. I have a chapter to go but here's the summary:

    The book cites four agreements that, with practice, will lead you to a happier state of living, essentially and dramatically, lead you out of your living hell. The idea is focused 100% on you. You can only control yourself and only honor yourself.

    1. Be impeccable with your word. Your word is your power to create the events in your life. It can create positive events or destructive events. Impeccable means "without sin". So the idea here is that you use your word without sin against yourself. You take responsibility for your actions but you do not judge and blame yourself. There is a big difference. And as you practice your impeccable word don't you think the very actions which might have caused you to judge and blame yourself before will decrease and it will become easier to truly know the difference between taking responsibility and punishing yourself (over and over again).

    2. Don't take anything personally. Don't take compliments or insults or anything in between personally. If you know who you are and are impeccable with your word (i.e.: being yourself, not going against yourself) then you will get better and better at not allowing others to shape how you feel about yourself. This particular chapter I struggle with because I personally like to build people up by showing them how I feel about them and what I think about who they are. It is a rare thing for me to tell someone something negative unless i am trying to be a friend to help them through something and they need to hear it. However, I will re-read this to try to gain more meaning and understanding out of it.

    3. Don't make assumptions. This almost requires no comment. We do this ALL the time. I know I do. You hear someone explaining their situation and as they are you are summarizing it in your own words in your head, filling in blanks because you want to have the complete picture. Except it's not the complete picture because rather than ask questions to fill in the blanks, you used your own experience and assumptions to do so.

    4. Always do your best so that you will not judge and punish yourself. Do things because you want to do them and do your best, not for some reward. Enjoy your life. Live it now. And your best may not be the same every day if you're sick, tired, or you've fallen victim to beating yourself up. Doing your best means doing your best with the previous 3 agreements also and it means you may not always live up to your desire to always honor them. But it's your best so don't judge yourself.

  • Mikaela
    Mar 12, 2008

    I'd like to propose this book as required reading for the course, Life. Make four simple agreements with yourself and living becomes so much easier, so much lighter:

    1. Be impeccable with your word

    Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

    2. Don’t take anything personally

    Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own

    I'd like to propose this book as required reading for the course, Life. Make four simple agreements with yourself and living becomes so much easier, so much lighter:

    1. Be impeccable with your word

    Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

    2. Don’t take anything personally

    Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

    3. Don’t make assumptions

    Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

    4. Always do your best

    Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

    What I love about this book

    * It's a short, captivating read. I love the efficiency of receiving so much thought-provocation in so little time.

    * The agreements are applicable to everyone, everywhere, regardless of religion, gender, age, etc.

    * Stories, anecdotes and examples from various beliefs are intertwined throughout, spotlighting their common bottom lines: love, life and peace.

    Possibly the most life-changing book I've ever read. No, really.

    ?

    :)

  • Jim Mitchell
    Jun 04, 2008

    I am reading this book, and even though it is a small book, when I finish page 129, I start over again on page 1. I have been reading it for about fourteen years now, and I suspect I will continue reading it for as long as I can read. A few pages at a time is more than enough to give me something to kick around in my head for a few days or a week.

    This is a book that challenges one to live up to four simple truths, and offers transformational results as a result if one could live a life complete

    I am reading this book, and even though it is a small book, when I finish page 129, I start over again on page 1. I have been reading it for about fourteen years now, and I suspect I will continue reading it for as long as I can read. A few pages at a time is more than enough to give me something to kick around in my head for a few days or a week.

    This is a book that challenges one to live up to four simple truths, and offers transformational results as a result if one could live a life completely engaged in the four agreements. They are so concise that I can state them here. 1) Be impeccable with your word. 2) Don't take anything personally. 3) Don't make assumptions. 4) Always do your best. Simple huh? Track a day and see how many times you break an agreement (in your actions or your mind). To my constant amazement, I find myself stumbling over one or another of these agreements with some regularity. So it helps to remind myself by the constant reread.

    I am not reading with a hope that I will attain some mystical state, but I read because I find the author's explanation of how our mind, our society, and importantly, our relationships work to be insightful, even though it is based on a paradigm that is completely outside my heritage of growing up in a small New England town. Understanding the Toltec dream metaphor is an essential part of realizing the deeper meaning driving our relationships within the world around us. Ruiz does a good job of helping these concepts become clearer.

    Reading this book, I have started to formulate a good answer to a question that originally began in childhood. "What is the meaning of life?" is not a good question to be unanswered when one has piled up decades in this mortal realm. Ruiz has helped me drop many of my limited belief structures and has opened up insights into living that are valuable to young and old souls alike.

    It is 2017, fourteen years after I wrote this first review, and the book is still on my nightstand by my bed. It is a good read.

  • Jessica
    Jan 29, 2010

    I was surprised. I thought I would really like this book. A friend of mine told me the basic ideas were to be impeccable with your word, don't take things personally, don't make assumptions,and always do your best. To me, these sounded great: be honest, be forgiving, give others a chance to say what they think and try your best...or so I thought!

    The ideas were actually more along the lines of: don't send out poisonous words that put spells on people, don't let others poison you with their spells

    I was surprised. I thought I would really like this book. A friend of mine told me the basic ideas were to be impeccable with your word, don't take things personally, don't make assumptions,and always do your best. To me, these sounded great: be honest, be forgiving, give others a chance to say what they think and try your best...or so I thought!

    The ideas were actually more along the lines of: don't send out poisonous words that put spells on people, don't let others poison you with their spells (pretty strange, right?), don't have expectations of others, and yes, try your best.

    My husband and I were going to read this together, but by page 16 he couldn't take it anymore! I needed to read it for our book group so I continued on solo.

    I found the explanations for these ideas unnecessarily described as being from black or white magic, unnecessarily loaded with examples and I felt the author was talking down to me.

    Also, by far the book's biggest flaw, the information, if it hadn't been so swollen by overexplaining EVERY single concept, could have been presented in half OR LESS of the length!!!! Really, an elementary student might need all the over-simplified explanations supported by numerous examples, but even a teenager would have felt that Ruiz is beating a dead horse! (As my husband and I did by page 16!)

    Another friend told me that the ideas in this book reminded her of things she's heard before and gave as an example You Are Special, a great children's book by Max Lucado. I suggest reading that instead of this book.

    The book's ideas felt religious and might be okay for someone who is without religion and looking for some principles to govern their life. But, for me, as a Christian, I felt that these concepts were not only familiar but succinctly summed up in "love one another" and "try to be like Jesus."

    I really didn't like the book, but I suppose that I don't have to worry about the author taking it personally! :)

  • Chris
    Jun 02, 2011

    I never thought I would fall for a book by someone who would allow this picture of himself to adorn the back cover:

    I can't explain it. I'm not one to be floored by silly, little self-help books full of spirituality and cliches and horrible stories and simple advice. But I was. This book might just change my life.

    I'll hand the rest of this review over to David Foster Wallace:

    "It seems to me that the intellectualization and aestheticizing of principles and values in this country is one of the thin

    I never thought I would fall for a book by someone who would allow this picture of himself to adorn the back cover:

    I can't explain it. I'm not one to be floored by silly, little self-help books full of spirituality and cliches and horrible stories and simple advice. But I was. This book might just change my life.

    I'll hand the rest of this review over to David Foster Wallace:

    "It seems to me that the intellectualization and aestheticizing of principles and values in this country is one of the things that's gutted our generation. All the things that my parents said to me, like 'It's really important not to lie.' OK, check, got it. I nod at that but I really don't feel it. Until I get to be about 30 and I realize that if I lie to you, I also can't trust you. I feel that I'm in pain, I'm nervous, I'm lonely and I can't figure out why. Then I realize, 'Oh, perhaps the way to deal with this is really not to lie.'

    That seems to me like something our generation needs to feel."

  • Diana
    Jan 29, 2013

    OK. So. I liked several parts of this book very much. I love that happiness is a choice. I especially appreciated reading about the third agreement: Don't Make Assumptions because communication is something I can always work on. I loved the parts about accepting and loving yourself and others. There is some amazing advise in this little book and I can see how it can be life changing for many people.

    But.

    I'm going to be honest and admit that Ruiz almost lost me at "Everything is God" in the introd

    OK. So. I liked several parts of this book very much. I love that happiness is a choice. I especially appreciated reading about the third agreement: Don't Make Assumptions because communication is something I can always work on. I loved the parts about accepting and loving yourself and others. There is some amazing advise in this little book and I can see how it can be life changing for many people.

    But.

    I'm going to be honest and admit that Ruiz almost lost me at "Everything is God" in the introduction. Even though it sounds very pretty when said by a dude made of stars and fog, "Everything is God" is a meaningless statement. That's just something people say to blow everyone's mind and make themselves appear deeper than they actually are. Believe what you like about God, but saying everything is God is just the same as saying nothing is God, in which case you ought to go ahead and say what you mean and be a respectable atheist.

    He almost lost me again at the John Lennon quote, just before the beginning of Chapter One. Little known fact: John Lennon quotes are a pet peeve of mine. Who knew- right? And then again when he kept using the word "dreamy-dream-dreamer" to make everything sound super emotive and enlightened. Not that there's anything really wrong with that- just not my thing.

    And I admit I was annoyed by his over-simplifications, his vagueness about the evils of "the dream of the planet" (societal expectations) and again by his many generalizations- especially about how NO ONE is free to be herself because we're ALL "domesticated" (brainwashed) by society and our parents and teachers and church leaders, ALL blind, ALL narcissists. Which, you know, isn't entirely true.

    I'm certainly not a conformist, but I believe there needs to be a balance- some things you should conform to. Like not stealing. Or speeding through residential neighborhoods. Whether I'm personally feeling it or not, many societal expectations aren't relative. They're necessary. On the other hand, if by "the dream of the planet" he means cultural customs like judging people for their hairstyle or the music they like then I agree that "the dream of the planet" is bad news. See, it would be helpful if he were slightly less mysterious in his approach.

    Once I managed to sort through the new-age incense and magic (Not my flavor), I actually agreed with the four agreements. Imagine that. It turns out I've heard them before from Mother Teresa, C.S. Lewis, Dr. Seuss, Steven Covey, Jesus Christ, and many others. Life is infinitely better when you're honest and courageous enough to accept yourself, communicative in your relationships, positive, open and loving, forgiving of yourself and others, and continually trying to do your best. That is how we become a happy person. That is what most religions teach. That's what most schools encourage. That's what science shows. Its no secret- its just surprisingly difficult to remember and put into practice. Props to Ruiz for reminding me of this and for writing a book to help others. While his writing style made me vomit a little in my mouth, still he meant well and has assuredly encouraged many on the path to happiness.

    I would add, it is my personal belief that our reason for being- our purpose on earth is to learn to be happy. And truly happy people are always good people. Not perfect, but good. And I would add further that it stands to reason that the better a person is, the happier she becomes. Which is where religion takes the four agreements a step further, claiming that we are eternal beings and if so then we are day by day over an eternity either becoming more like God, or less like God. We are either progressing towards perfect happiness or perfect misery. Christianity also adds that we don't need to do this on our own, which idea rings true and logical and brings me comfort.

    Wow. Ruiz inspired me to write my own book.

  • Councillor
    Dec 13, 2016

    Miguel Ruiz' self-help nonfictional work could easily be summarized in a few words, and if - upon reading the book's blurb here on Goodreads, which basically provides such a summary - you find nothing worth investigating in this novel, then maybe you should rather choose another book. Ruiz' ideas are very insightful and thought-provoking, but in their core nothing ground-breaking and some of his examples are actually rather questionable.

    Ruiz basically implies the importance of standing up for yo

    Miguel Ruiz' self-help nonfictional work could easily be summarized in a few words, and if - upon reading the book's blurb here on Goodreads, which basically provides such a summary - you find nothing worth investigating in this novel, then maybe you should rather choose another book. Ruiz' ideas are very insightful and thought-provoking, but in their core nothing ground-breaking and some of his examples are actually rather questionable.

    Ruiz basically implies the importance of standing up for yourself, not allowing others to influence your thoughts and your way of living in a negative way, instead living the way you want to live and not allowing expectations raised by society to affect your life. The tone of his prose was rather straightforward, but also condescending at certain points. All the time Ruiz repeated the same formulaic idea that nobody should take things personal, but his writing gave the impression of something along the lines of "but please do take those things personal which I am telling you about right now". Ruiz divides his book into four major steps, so-called 'agreements' which you have to adapt to in order to successfully change your life for the best, according to him. Those four agreements are called 1) be impeccable with your word, 2) don't take anything personal, 3) don't make assumptions and 4) always do your best. He also offers lengthy explanations and nonfictional examples to support those agreements.

    Miguel Ruiz used to work as a surgeon until a near-death-experience convinced him of changing his life and delving into the deepest parts of himself, parts of which can be found in this book. Ruiz' enthusiasm about the concept he is living by basically flows through the entire text, allowing it to turn into a very uplifting book of highly readable and rather simplistic messages, yet Ruiz successfully managed to provide food for thoughts.

    Even though I personally liked Ruiz' self-help novel a lot (it has actually been my first self-help novel, if you forget about disguised self-helpers like

    ), I can see why others would disagree with some of his messages, especially with his examples. Ruiz' concept of the 'dream of the planet' seemed far-fetched, and it always felt as if he was trying to make everything sound too simple, as if he didn't take different factors into account which would affect those four agreements in certain ways. I am going to give this book 4 stars since Ruiz' prose is incredibly readable, and his basic ideas and concepts resonate well with my own perceptions. Recommended for readers who are generally interested in this specific genre.

  • Heidi The Hippie Reader
    Jun 04, 2017

    is a simple and short presentation of some very deep wisdom. In a world filled with spiritual reading material, this one's a goodie. It just made a lot of sense to me.

    These lessons come from the shaman culture of Central America.

    is a simple and short presentation of some very deep wisdom. In a world filled with spiritual reading material, this one's a goodie. It just made a lot of sense to me.

    These lessons come from the shaman culture of Central America.

    introduction pg x. Happiness and love! Sign up the Hippie Librarian, pronto.

    The book goes on to talk about how everyone has unconscious beliefs that we pick up as children. We view and experience our world through these beliefs. Most folks aren't even aware that they have them and this causes a myriad of misunderstandings and problems:

    pg 17.

    So, how do you cut through the fog of these beliefs to see clearly? Ruiz suggests using The Four Agreements.

    The first is:

    pg 46. This includes your inner voice, the way you talk to yourself and how you narrate your reality.

    Ruiz mentions that some people talk to themselves in a manner that they would find unacceptable to use with the people they care about. Change the way you speak and, Ruiz claims, your life will follow.

    The second agreement is:

    pg 59 This helps you because:

    pg 63.

    The third agreement is 'don't make assumptions':

    pg 74. Now that I've been looking for this, I've caught myself assuming things all the time.

    It's funny how quick hurt feelings evaporate when I just put an "assumption" label over any stories I've concocted. It has actually been world-changing for me: to realize how many stories I make up because I'm bored or confused or simply don't know what someone else is thinking. And to realize that they're not real is such a relief. Really.

    Finally:

    pg 85.

    This was another big one for me. I used to get down on myself about how circumstances played out even if I had nothing to do with it. Now, I just pause and give it a quick think over, "Did I try my best?" Generally, yeah, I was trying my guts out.

    And that's all I can ask of myself, really. I can't control the uncontrollable, I can only do the best I can with what I've got in front of me.

    may help readers live in the now and experience life as it is rather than as they've imagined it to be. At least, that's what it has done for me. Also recommended for readers who may be interested in spirituality but want a easy place to start. This one is simple and packs a big punch in a very few pages.


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