The Four Agreements

Key Takeaways

  • The book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz has four easy agreements to live by:
    • Be impeccable with your words,
    • Don’t take anything personally,
    • Don’t make assumptions, and
    • Always do your best.
  • The simplicity of these four agreements makes it easy to apply to everyday life.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom,” and you know the rest. This quote from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens leads me to think of another book, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.

The first agreement is to be impeccable with your words, which I think Charles Dickens definitely was, and many times, we are not. Sometimes we don’t use the right words in the right situations for the right meanings, and they can be taken out of context. It can be difficult to come back around and make amends with people when they feel we said something in the wrong manner.

The next agreement is don’t take anything personally. My motto here is that if someone is attacking me, it’s typically a reflection of them, not me. In other words, it’s not about me. It’s easy to get over things when you realize it has nothing to do with you. Something is wrong in the other person’s life, and they are taking it out on you, but it’s not about you.

The third agreement is don’t make assumptions. One of my clients used to tell me that phrase that involves the first three letters of the word, you’ve probably heard before. But it’s very true, it’s harmful to make assumptions. You need to ask questions and be specific when you are working with or meeting with someone, or whatever it happens to be, because it can cause major issues if you just assume something instead.

Finally, always do your best. It’s in the Boy Scout and Girl Scout mottoes for good reason. We try to teach young people that all the time, but somehow, we seem to forget about that as we get older. We fall in to bad habits or bad ways. But if you go out there and always apply your best to everything you do, good things happen.

Full disclaimer, I have not read the book, and I’m not even sure I got each of these completely correct. But I love these four agreements, their simplicity, and their easy application to everyday life.

Until next time, enjoy.


Inertia, often caused by being overwhelmed, keeps smart people from planning. TransformingWealth™ , Coyle’s proprietary approach, is designed to get your arms around the big picture so you can make informed financial decisions. Take the first step to living the Good Life Managed Well™, and schedule a complimentary TransformingWealth Preview Meeting.

Gary Klaben is in our Glenview, IL office and serves our clients who are now located all over the country. He has over 30 years of experience and is the author of Changing the Conversation, The Wealth Sanctuary and co-author of The Business BattlefieldWhether advising his clients, mentoring his team, or coaching entrepreneurs, he is always simplifying complexity and motivating others to take the next action that’s right for them.
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