Analysis of The Four Agreements Philosophy in Action

Analysis of The Four Agreements ― Philosophy in Action

This analysis will give you the key to empowering positive thinking and action.  It shows that you don’t need religion for moral thinking and behavior. 

Analysis of the Four Agreements

You notice that these elements of these agreements are not just philosophical positions.  Miguel Ruiz wrote them in a way that requires action.

1) Impeccability

The first agreement is to be impeccable with your word. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your words to direct your life toward truth and love.

To be impeccable with your word means striving to be honest with yourself and others. Gossip and hearsay create negativity in relationships.  So, you must stop feeding your mind with gossip, which is the basis for much of TV news, religious programming, and reality shows.

Your mind is a computer.  If you put in bad code, you will get the wrong answers.  You must learn to monitor what you put into your mind.  You must learn to monitor your thinking, and then you will be honest with yourself and others.

2) Don’t take Umbrage or Personal Offense

The second agreement is don’t take things personally.  Nothing other people do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. Learn to be are immune to the opinions and actions of others.  This will keep you from being the victim of needless suffering.

Not taking things personally means resisting the urge to fixate on others’ motives.  Our analysis of the four agreements showed that this is a common issue. We surveyed members and found that 80% of people find this hard to do.   It makes you a victim of circumstance.  Besides, you can never know what someone else is thinking.  Don’t assume that what happens has ill intent.

Trying to anticipate or guess will take you away from the present.  You are not listening anymore.  You lose your grounding.  It takes your mind out of the present. Keep your focus on being “present” and “mindful.”  Follow the first agreement, strive to be honest.  When you don’t do this, you take on the victim mindset.

Remind yourself that you limit yourself when you take on the victim mentality.  If someone has a different opinion, don’t take it as a personal affront.  Instead, ask them if you want to know.  Ask with the genuine intent to determine why they believe what they do.  Please resist the urge to present a different argument unless they ask for yours.  Again, our analysis of the four agreements showed that this was the hardest thing to do.

The reason that this one is so hard is that our culture promotes the role of the victim.  Don’t be the victim.  Learn that we all suffer unjust wrongs.  Instead, learn to take on the role of the survivor.  Not taking things personally is a mental tactic worth mastering.  Taking any kind of criticism without reacting requires both practice in handling these situations and some serious inner work.

3) Don’t Assume

The third agreement is don’t make assumptions.  Find the courage to ask questions and express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can.  This will help you avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can transform your life.

Don’t assume.  Instead, be mindful and present.  Accept people where they are.  Ask questions but resist the urge to judge.  Avoid projecting your own values and beliefs. Give others your full attention and listen.

Don’t formulate a rebuttal while you listen.  Listen first before you think about what you are going to say.  When you pause and listen, it will often change your response.  We encourage you to do your own analysis of the four agreements.  If you do, you’ll see how they fit together as a whole.

4) Integrity in Word and Deed

The last agreement is always to do your best.  Your best is a continual decision.  Things can change from moment to moment.  It will be different when you are healthy, as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

Doing your best means following through.  Be wise and don’t over-promise.  Remember to be impeccable with your word.  Remind yourself that perfection is an elusive goal.  It may be only temporary.  So, doing your best has more to do with intent and effort, not results. Give your best effort. Be diligent with your time. Avoid “what ifs” and self-judgment.

In Conclusion

We hope this analysis of the four agreements will help you in your personal development. These agreements will change your attitude about life.  They give you perspective in this ever-changing world.  These agreements can help you be a better person, without the baggage of adopting any dogma or doctrine—four simple things to keep in mind.

If you want a more comprehensive list of guiding principles, The Dalai Lama gives us one example of 18 rules for living.

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References

(1) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia

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