Book review: The Four Agreements
The four agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz, is a self-guide book based on ancient Toltec wisdom which can help to manage stress as well as boost up personal development. The author has tried to touch the complex concepts of life with a simple approach.
The language is quite simple and can be understood easily without making any compromise to the theme that can lead to a beautiful transformation of life. This is a short book and the author claims that the ideas and concepts provided in the book represent the knowledge possessed by people of an older civilization called Toltec which flourished in ancient Mexico.
The book first provides an introduction about the Toltec who were regarded as “women and men of knowledge” in southern Mexico. According to Ruiz, humans are domesticated as since their birth they are taught about the things already existing in the society, hence not giving any chance to the children to create their belief system. The only option for children is to agree on what is being said to them and hook their attention to those words. The author talks about some negative points of the belief system which are created without challenging it or questioning it.
The author gives insights about how some beliefs are unhealthy for our mental peace and affects adversely to our personal growth. Then the author tells about the four agreements that one should do to themselves to gain personal freedom and success in life. Ruiz has explained these four agreements thoroughly one by one, with short stories as examples to make it simple yet comprehensive.
Now let’s take a look at what these four agreements are and how they are helpful for positive changes in life.
Be impeccable with your words: In this agreement, the author has encouraged the readers to avoid gossiping, telling lies to prove themselves right and to feel powerful, to make fake promises and any use of words which can create problem in our lives and others as well. The author has focused on how to avoid the use of words against ourselves and to overcome self-pity.
Many times, people don’t realize how much power words have. The author has emphasised on how to use words positively for ourselves and other people without hurting them. So, the whole idea of this agreement revolves around the power of the word and the negative effects on ourselves each time we judge ourselves or pity ourselves.
Don’t take anything personally: This agreement deals with the concept that how someone’s behaviour is the ultimate result of their own mental and emotional state. The author advises the readers to not take things personally and affect their mental state. Sometimes people behave rudely not because of the person who is standing in front of them but those negative behaviours are their reflections. So the author suggests to become less reactive and observe things more about your selves and own emotions.
Don’t make assumptions: The author suggests to avoid making any assumptions and jumping straight to conclusions without analysing the situation. There are high chances that making assumptions without checking on other people’s thinking and motive can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety. So, it advises asking about the doubts going on in your head and try to understand others and discuss those doubts to prevent interpersonal conflicts.
Always do your best: This agreement can be beneficial in all grounds all life, whether we talk about work, studies, relationships and other aspects of life. The author strongly advises the readers to do their best and it will provide you with zero regrets. You will have a sense of relief that I have given my best no matter what the result will be. Also, your best varies day by day according to circumstances and honest effort can help in effective progress. The author gives the idea that honest effort will boost up confidence while preventing any unnecessary feelings to be ashamed of something and regrets.
Overall the book consists of complex ideas which are good for self-improvement, simplified in a great manner. But some of the agreements have to be followed with some balance. For example, the agreement to take things not personally, this idea is not applicable in every situation and a similar point goes with the agreement that deals with not making assumptions. It is beneficial for reducing stress but discussing people’s behaviour to them is not possible and easy every time. Sometimes we need to figure things by ourselves and confrontation can make things more complicated. So these are few situations where a balance, own intuition and common sense are needed.
Conclusion: This book gives practical ways and suggestions that can be helpful to reduce stress and eliminate negative emotions, frustrations and anxiety from life. More importantly, it focuses on self-love which is strongly essential in living life happily and spreading happiness and love in others life.