Miguel Ruiz - The Four Agreements. PDF

PDF Thank you, this book, for making me realize what a cynical asshole I am. By being skeptical of people who appear to suck, I am apparently doing a disservice to myself and to the Creator. And by judging myself when I make mistakes, a.k.a. stressing out when I screw up at work and have to fix it under pain of losing my job, I'm only contributing to my outer dream of Hell on Earth. Actually, by writing this paragraph I have probably put a few more nails in my psychological coffin.

All joking aside, this is a good little book for the cynicist in all of us (in? How about that is?). Parts of it made me angry because they seemed to stress forgiveness over all else — and yeah, I know that's generally accepted wisdom and all, but sometimes people need more than forgiveness to move on from things in life, like forgiveness and then perpetual avoidance.

As a philosophy, the "four agreements" (be impeccable with your word, don't make assumptions, always do your best, and ... crap, I already forgot the fourth one) are a superbly idealistic way to approach everyday life, but ever the empiricist, I was disappointed that the author didn't give more concrete examples of how to apply them to various situations.

When you're listening to someone tell you how to live, you naturally want to counter with, "Well, what if [blank] happens and [so and so] says [blank]?" In that case, is being impeccable with my word mean I should tell that person that I am sorry he or she is such a pitiful waste of space and, oh, by the way, all your personal habits are annoying? I guess my idea of impeccable honesty may betray some of the other agreements I'm supposed to make with myself.

The best part of what the author is teaching here is that you should be unfazed by what people say, think, or do, be it positive or negative — even when it's directed toward you. The thinking behind it is that people do and say things because of their own situations, not yours, so whenever they say something to or about you, it has nothing to do with you. If someone calls you fat, it's because they are insecure, no matter how much of a blimp you are. If someone says you are awesome, you don't need to cling to it like a desperate child because, in theory, you knew you were awesome already.

Plus, this takes no time to read. You could finish it in a commute or two and at least feel like you'd thought things over a little, if nothing else. And, granted, I had been having some insecurity issues surrounding my performance at work, and after reading the "Always Do Your Best" chapter on the bus Friday morning, I proceeded to have a pretty kick-ass day, so there is definitely irrefutable power in the simplicity presented therein.

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