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The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

Throughout my coaching career and even during my time as a marketing executive, I have often referred to a little book filled with terrific brilliance called “The Four Agreements. A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, a Toltec Wisdom Book”. Written by Don Miguel Ruiz, it was published 26 years ago, in 1997.

It was introduced to me during a leadership training program with a group of executives back in 2002. We were working to develop a more cohesive, positive and successful leadership team to a very different level than what we had been. The trainer introduced us to the book, and guided us through its concepts.

I was mesmerized by it. So much so that since that time I have purchased a ton of copies to share with friends, coworkers, and clients. It’s that good. I encourage you to pick up a copy for yourself. You can find it on Amazon. It comes in many forms; paperback, audio and Kindle.

So what’s so special about this little book? First of all, it’s the simplicity with which the agreements are stated and explained. And second of all, it describes a way of life that is filled with happiness and love through authenticity.

Warning, some may be turned off by it initially, because it speaks to a Mexican spiritualism, that we live in dream-like states, or illusions that don’t allow us to see who we really are. Some will find that part hard to digest.

Below are the four agreements simply stated so that you’ll get the very basic idea of what they are.


Considered the most important agreement, the premise is simple. “The word is the most powerful tool you have as a human”, and yet “word can create the most beautiful dream or can destroy everything around you”. Words are so powerful and too often are used by ourselves to define who we are. Be careful about what you say to yourself and about yourself, and be careful about what you hear others say too.


This one was like a breath of fresh air for me, because I’m pretty sure I took everything people said about me personally. It’s not so easy to put into practice, but I’ve come to learn that whatever anyone says about anyone else, they are stating their opinions. Even nice things people say shouldn’t be taken personally, it’s really more about the person stating it. Bottom line, don’t believe everything people say about you.


See agreement #2 – they are so closely tied to each other. Again, not a simple agreement to follow, however, I’ve noticed my life has gotten so much better when I don’t make assumptions. Quick example, someone cuts you off in traffic. The first “assumption” is that the driver is a real jerk and a serious case of road rage is in order. A better and more healthy stance is to let it go……you never know what’s going on in that person’s life and if they are in a bigger hurry than you, so be it.


Simple enough, right? The concept is to do your best at any stage of your day or life. If you’re tired at night, do your best when tired. When you’re energized and rested, your best will be different, but still, it’s your best. The idea is that when you do your best, you’re taking positive action.

These explanations are only the tip of the iceberg of the Agreement’s power and meaning.I encourage you to pick up a copy and spend some time with it.Let me know what you think of it….I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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