Monday, June 21, 2021

How To Apply ‘the Four Agreements’ of Doctor Miguel Ruiz at Work

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This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Perhaps you heard about the book “The Four Agreements” or have read it or seen phrases on social networks. In any case, you will find in it valuable recommendations for life to work better in all areas: family, friends, relationships, work, abundance, health and well-being in general.

Miguel Ángel Ruiz (1952) is a Mexican author, writer, and speaker of texts and themes of spirituality, influenced by another great author and thinker, the Peruvian anthropologist Carlos Castaneda (died 1998). His most influential work is The Four Agreements, and they are based on what Ruiz transmits as Toltec wisdom, a pre-Columbian culture that dominated the northern Mexican highlands between the 10th and 12th centuries. The original edition was published in 1997 and has sold more than 4 million copies.

The value of the four agreements

It depends on where you look at it, the four agreements are expressed very simply, and very profound at the same time.

This double look allows the person who is looking for answers to some of his life dilemmas, to find them in simple and pleasant language; and whoever seeks to go deeper, will find many levels to continue diving.

What can The Four Agreements be useful for in the office? To communicate better, learn to understand others, manage your emotions, train yourself to master your impulses and achieve a better level of work excellence.

The Four Agreements are: Be impeccable with your words; Don’t take anything personally; Don’t guess or guess and always do your best, the best you can.

FIRST AGREEMENT: BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORDS

Words create states of consciousness; and these determine your thoughts, which, in turn, are manifested in the results.

Beyond your language, culture and experiences, it is the language you use that shapes your way of representing the world. Your ideas, wishes, goals, purposes; your relationships, ties and gifts. Everything is manifested through the word.

As you know, they can build huge dreams and benefits for humanity; or destroy with your load of fear, resentment, frustration, anger, and malicious opinions. This means that the words are not innocent, and they are loaded with meaning.

The word “impeccability” means that you don’t do things that go against you. To be impeccable is to assume your personal responsibility; fulfill each and every one of your commitments (starting with the ones you assume with yourself, and then with the others); and, at the same time, channel the gift of the word in a constructive and positive way.

For example, getting into gossip, aggressive opinion in meetings or on social media does not produce any virtuous results: on the contrary, you let huge amounts of your vital energy leak through what you say, write and even when you think about ideas through the words you put into it.

What you think (and what you say, that is, what you declare) is what you become.

To incorporate the first agreement in the office: talk less and do more. Exceed your own expectations regarding the fulfillment of your commitments. Watch your thoughts. Evaluate before speaking. 70% listen and only 30% speak. Seek to be more precise in your language to adequately express all your ideas. Avoid hurting and focus on uplifting and adding value in your interactions with others. Discard all aggressive communication in your life.

SECOND AGREEMENT: “DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING AS PERSONAL”

Most people assume that everything that happens is designed for them; in favor or oppossing. In favor, there is no major problem: everything fits. The matter begins when people feel that everything that happens to them, happens, the events of the world and their environment, are “against them.” “The world is against me”, they say to themselves.

Can you imagine then what happens? Sure enough: apparently the world starts firing thick ammunition at said person.

However, it is the ego of people that produces anger, frustration, and great emotional drain when trying to fight against the opinions and situations of the world that can poison your life.

All part of the ego wants to give you airs of greater importance; Therefore, if you show yourself excessively focused on the opinion of others, you unconsciously create a certain dependence on the approval (or not) of the other. In this way you will be trapped in that emotion that you have generated yourself.

Feeling like the center of the world is called by many names: self-centeredness, selfishness, arrogance. They are nuances of the same expression when you do and think that everything revolves around you.

When Miguel Ruiz in “The Four Agreements” says “Do not take anything personally”, it means that this step will be crucial to feel free, outside the domestication of education, dogmas and social and cultural conditioning that you drag in your life .

This point is not about accepting everything without being shocked, but rather the problem appears when you give entity to “that” that the other party says or does, and you let your emotions get out of balance.

For example, when you are offended by nothing, you react in generally inappropriate, even exaggerated ways. This arises from wanting to be right rather than choosing to be happy.

Seen in another way, every time you want to change someone’s opinion or behavior, you get frustrated, because you can hardly change yourself: it is impossible to change the other person if that other being does not want to do it. In any case, it could change at the rate of evolution.

This second agreement is the one that causes much of the suffering in life, since, in general, you are too susceptible to everything they say or do around you. Now you know: assuming a greater perspective of situations and issues -even those that directly involve you-, you will not be able to get emotionally hooked, respect the positions of others (not necessarily justify them; although you can understand them from a completely different and integrating perspective for your well-being From this place you will radiate the same around you.

To incorporate this second agreement into your work environment: Learn from the differences with others; integrates and respects the decisions of others. Understand that the other is “an other” with their own problems, beliefs and difficulties. If something is bothering you, find the appropriate space and express it clearly from your perspective (taking over your communication, not blaming others). Do not seek to impose your wishes over the opinions of others. Always consider the highest good of all in any situation. Avoid living from the ego: learn about compassion, humility, conscious listening, open-mindedness to live better experiences. This will help you to have more peace in all aspects.

THIRD AGREEMENT: “DO NOT GUESS OR ASSUME”

Another source of inner discomfort, extreme emotionality, destruction of your self-esteem and worth, and deterioration of your personal power is living making assumptions.

How many times have you spent days, months or years pondering questions that had nothing to do with the reality of things? Or, have you met people who you’ve given just five or ten seconds to cut them out of your life?

All this happens because you suppose more than what you allow yourself to live the experiences to confirm your formed and sustained perception. Assuming something, in terms of having a hunch or hunch, is not the problem: the issue is when you think it is that you assume it is true, even without having checked or observed it in perspective, or collated any information.

When you assume something you start from an incorrect base, because beforehand you believe and assume that you have the absolute truth about something. What’s more: you stop distinguishing what a presumption is, to the point of taking it for granted as something is real … without even having checked or experienced it.

The process of guessing is unconscious and part of the brain’s cognitive biases. A bias is a shortcut your brain process takes trying to find an escape route or quick fix. It is usually based on a quick impulse whereby you associate information based on your life experience, and connect it with that current situation, rushing to take the shortcut (bias) to draw quick conclusions. As you can see, this does not bring an accurate result, since you start from the wrong places and want to control situations by trying to precipitate them at the speed that your emotional dynamics demands.

To incorporate this agreement to help you at work: ask more questions, be patient, reflect, connect better with other people. Avoid assuming by applying active listening and assertive communication. Relieve the facts, cool your emotions for at least three days before acting compulsively.

FOURTH AGREEMENT: “ALWAYS DO THE BEST, THE BEST YOU CAN”

When we talk about “being the best version of yourself,” it means that you will begin to live your life in a way that makes sense to you, and that, in turn, you can transform your environment through your actions.

This agreement proposes that you move towards the trait of excellence. Many people seek perfection in themselves and in the world: that does not exist on this physical plane. So we can aspire to be excellent. At work, for example, there is a lot of talk about “having to be perfect.”

Being an excellent person is more than being impeccable; it means expressing continuously and in all aspects of life your highest commitment to the total quality of your thoughts, words and actions. Doing your best is leaving your known zone, to expand a little further, feeding yourself with energy to reach a higher level of excellence in everything you do.

Doing the best you can is always giving your 100%. 99.9% is not one hundred percent of what you can give. There is a difference.

All that is required on your side is that you do, always and at all times and places, your best effort. It is giving a little more than usual. It’s getting out of the comfort of downplaying things and doing them fast to get rid of them. It is making a conscious choice to be a better person every second of your life.

To incorporate this agreement: practice giving a little more each day; make an effort in those aspects that you need to improve. Get inspired by people who have already done it – there are millions of sources of information available. Talk to people who are exemplary from your perspective. Learn from biographies, uplifting movies, and experiences where you learn. In the face of failure, revalue it with the learning it has left you. Discover the inexhaustible source of your personal power to be more excellent every time in all the planes of your life.

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