Lessons from the book “The Four Agreements”

 

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How did I find out about this book? It was several years ago when read an article from Cosmopolitan Philippines magazine written by a woman who was going through a heartbreak at one point in her life. The way she narrated everything and how this book has helped her move forward was so touching. The Four Agreements is an inspiring book written by the Mexican author Don Miguel Ruiz. According to Ruiz, these agreements are essential  in living a life of no regrets and less hurt.

Here are the Four Agreements and its implications in my life.

1. BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

-This is very powerful to me in a way that I was reminded to use my ability to communicate into something that only promotes love and truth. I admit, it is so tempting  to speak against someone who has hurt or done us wrong but remembering this agreement put us in a peaceful place in our lives by not engaging into any negativity as it will do no good in us.

2. DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say or do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

– At least one day in our lives, we encountered a person who got angry at us, even if the reason is so pointless. I realized that behavior was demonstrated not because of me, but maybe because that person has her own issues and is going through something. But it doesn’t mean that I should be complacent. In my job where we work with the doctors, sometimes, they get angry because of work not being done competently. On my part, I should also make an effort not to be a stimulus for someone to get mad, however, if it happened, it shouldn’t take it personally.

Where else can I apply this agreement? In life, people come and go. We may have a lot of friends before, but as we move to our life’s journey, it seems like the communication with them is lessened and we hate to admit it, it seems like we are drifting apart. With this situation, we shouldn’t feel sad. We just have to accept that we are on a different stages of our lives right now, your best friend may have a family already and you are still figuring out things yourself. Let us just be happy that we met these people and had painted colors in our lives.

3. DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

-We are all guilty of this. How many times did we assume or worry of something that is not yet happening? Assuming for the best and worst to come has its own consequences. I finally decided to just be a realist. Being real, in the moment, present, eye-opened with what’s there and not. I’m not saying that I do not assume anymore, but as much as I can, I try to avoid it.

4. ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST. Your best is going to change from moment to moment, it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse and regret.

-For a life of no regrets and in everything we do, we should always do our best. The outcome: whether we win or lose, if it’s success or failure, it won’t matter anymore for as long as we did our best. I still feel dignified in times of failure when I know in my heart I did my best for that endeavor. It if wasn’t enough, let us strive to get better the next time.

*** I read this book three years ago when I was still in my previous job. It’s highly recommended that we go back to the lessons from the book that changed our lives because sometimes we get so caught up with everything that’s been happening in our lives. I admit that for the last 2 years, I forgot these lessons and seeing the book in my room reminded me of the wisdom that was introduced to me and that I should apply in my life.

Book Review: I’ve Never Been to Vegas but My Luggage Has

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Last month, I had come across several quotations of Mandy Hale in Facebook. I immediately searched for her in Google and found out more about her book and her blog. Mandy Hale is an American blogger and the New York Times best-selling author of “I’ve Never Been to Vegas but My Luggage Has” which is the second offering following the success of her first book entitled “The Single Woman: Life, Love and a Dash of Sass”.

“I’ve Never Been to Vegas but My Luggage Has” detailed Mandy Hale’s journey after graduating from college until the release of this book. At first, she thought that the journey for a happily ever after will be easy but it was not. For instance, she had been to several jobs and was fired which resulted to a depression. Just like other young adults, in those years she fell in love and got her heart broken several times but she did not lose her faith in God.

I had learned so many things through her life experiences. My favorite was the one she said in an interview about the idea behind the title. She said that in life, we often go search of one thing and end up finding something so much better. Because guess what, that is God’s plan.

Some of my favorite lines are:

“God, like a proud Papa, I think He sometimes does things for no other reason than to make His children smile.”

“I didn’t take the no personally, however, as I knew that every no was pushing me one step closer to a yes.”

“She didn’t have the perfect hair or the perfect nose or the perfect clothes, but she still felt she deserved the world.”

“I was learning on this journey that we call life that failure is just a sentence in our stories. It doesn’t have to overshadow the whole book.”

“It had opened me up to the magic and joy and possibilities of life again.”

“Because no matter how bad you might mess up, or how foolish you might look, or how high you might crash, there is absolutely nothing worse than the feeling of regret you will have if you don’t try at all.”

And a lot….. There are too many to mention. I think the central message that connected me to Mandy Hale’s life experiences is the realization of connecting the dots. Just like what I learned from Steve Jobs’ Standford graduation speech, he said that “We cannot connect the dots looking forward, we can only connect them looking backwards.” Realizing that we were in the situation in the past and we met these people because having them prepares us for what lies ahead in the future. Rise up from a fall, move on from hurt, bounce back and then pursue your dreams are her advice to all women.

I bought the book for Php595 in the National Book Store. This is a great read especially for women going through tough times in terms of career, love or life in general. The readers will realize that if Mandy Hale can bounce back and so do I.

Have you read it? Please comment your thoughts and learning about the book. 

Reflections on “The Purpose Driven Life” book

https://store.teenchallengeusa.com/the-purpose-driven-life.html

https://store.teenchallengeusa.com/the-purpose-driven-life.html

***It was three years when I read this phenomenal book. I remembered, it was so popular when I was in high school but was not interested in reading it. I deeply believe that destiny plays a role on the timing of reading a book in a particular phase of a person’s life. The following paragraphs follow some of my journal entries during the time I was reading “The Purpose Driven Life”. The book was written by Rick Warren. I want to look back on these reflections even years after that’s why I am posting it.

July 7, 2012

I have a lot of things I learned today. I noticed that the topic of the chapter of the book, The Purpose Driven Life that I’m reading is applicable to an emotion, feeling, and/ or frustration for the day. Tonight, I read chapter 28, and its title is “It takes time”. It says there that growth is gradual. Before we could be the best of who we are and the best of what God has planned us to become, we have to undergo some or lots of hardships, pain, struggle, hurt and sufferings. And in the previous chapters, I learned that we should thank the Lord “in” all circumstances and not “for” all circumstances. Because no one wants to be grateful because he/she is suffering. Thankful “in” all circumstances because this will shape us, mold us and we will become an improved version of who we really are. Then our character will be developed. I will always remember this, “Character is the sum of all our habits.”

July 22, 2012

I wasn’t able to blog for the past months since I started reading the book, The Purpose Driven Life. I was absorbing and reflecting on myself everything I learned with each chapter of the book. My 40-day journey ended last July 19, 2012. In the book, I learned what God wants me to do, why he brought me into this earth. He wants a personal and deep relationship with Him, to talk to Him after, to trust, and to love Him with all my mind, strength, heart and soul. He wants me to be Christ. In a way that when others look and communicate with me, they should be able to see Christ’s characteristic in me. It’s hard, but I’m trying. He wants us to use this life to glorify Him through fellowship, worship and service. He wants us to find a specific ministry based on our SHAPE: Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality and Experiences. One phrase I clearly remember, “If there’ll be just one person who’ll be in heaven because of you, you have served you purpose and your life has served its best.” I have learned to trust Him completely. My spiritual journey had come a long way. But it is a lifelong process, an everyday discovery and learning.

The 25th anniversary edition of “The Alchemist”

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Last month, when I went to a bookstore to buy a book, I gazed upon the shelf with all the books of Paulo Coelho and held a copy of “The Alchemist”. I noticed that it now has a different cover. I read the front page and found out it’s the book’s 25th anniversary edition. Then I thought of writing a blog post about how this book inspired me two years ago.

I got curious with “The Alchemist” when I read an inspiring article about it in a magazine. Had I not read that magazine article, I won’t read the book and I won’t be in this stage of my life right now. I read it during the time when I felt so lost, the time when I do not know what to do with my life. I had a job then but felt so confused of what career path to pursue.

Just like in the front cover of the book, it’s a fable about following your dream.

It was a story about the boy named Santiago who left the seminary to follow his dream of traveling to search for an earthly treasure. By following his dream, he was able to find everything that he was looking for. The people he met on his journey, his conversations with them, and the advice that was given to him.

My favorite scene in the story was when the boy was talking with the alchemist. The boy says, “My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer.” The alchemist replied, “Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”

What I love the most about this book is its message to follow our dreams. If we follow our dreams, we can never go wrong.

The old king tells Santiago, “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.”

When the times comes that you will have to decide on something very important in your life and you do not know what to do, I advise you to read this book.