This is the final installment in a series of recent newsletters based on the book, The Four Agreements, by don Miguel Ruiz. In earlier newsletters, I have elaborated on the first three agreements: (1) Be Impeccable With Your Word; (2) Don't Take Anything Personally; and (3) Don't Make Assumptions.
The fourth agreement is "Always Do Your Best." Ruiz says that this agreement is the one that allows the other three to "become deeply ingrained habits" and that it is about "the action of the first three." (p. 75)
In my own practice, I have found this particular agreement the easiest to implement with regard to other endeavors. When I was a child, for example, I didn't do so well in math. It was a puzzle to my dad who was a whiz at it. He never seemed to grasp how it was possible that his three kids were so good at reading and verbal skills but such duds at math. Luckily, he was a kind and wise man. He didn't get all bent out of shape over the fact that we weren't as swift at picking up mathematical concepts as he was. He would just admonish us to "do your best." And I always did. As an eldest child, it was relatively easy to hold myself to high standards, and I feel confident that my parents always knew that I was doing "my best," whether the grade I brought home from school was an A or a C.
With regard to practicing the three agreements, however, doing your best takes on a whole new meaning. When I consider how doing my best relates to being impeccable with my word, never taking anything personally, and never making assumptions, it gives me a standard to shoot for, but it also cuts me a little slack. I don't have to be perfect in my performance of the first three agreements...I simply need to do my best...and my best may be different from one time to the next. Indeed, Ruiz offers the following caution to readers: "Under any circumstance, always do you best, no more and no less. But keep in mind that your best is never going to be the same from one moment to the next. Everything is alive and changing all the time, so your best will sometimes be high quality and other times it will not be as good." (pp. 75-76)
The beauty of this agreement is that is recognizes your ability to grow and evolve as you incorporate these agreements into you daily life. It also recognizes that you will do better when you feel better and that sometimes we are just tired and frazzled and at those times it is difficult to be impeccable about anything or not to take criticism personally or not assume that someone is out to do you harm. None of that matters, however, if you simply remind yourself to do your best in any given circumstance.
The payoff of adopting these four agreements is a new life--a happier and freer life--and Ruiz challenges his readers to imagine the positive effects of adopting these practices as personal habits and as ways of being in the world.
Imagine that you never again have to fear the judgments of others. You never again have to be guilty of judging others...or yourself. You are absolutely free to love and accept yourself just ast you are; and you are free to pursue whatever destiny calls you to without fear of criticism from anyone. You are no longer a victim. YOU are in control in every aspect of your life. You are fearless. You know you are capable of overcoming any challenge. You know you cannot lose. Nothing can stop you. You are always doing your best, and you no longer entertain conducting yourself in any way that doesn't reflect impeccability with your word. You never again take anything personally and you never again make assumptions about what others are thinking, feeling, or doing.You are free.
Just imagine what you life could be if you made these four powerful agreements with yourself starting today.