Bhavesh Kothari invited me to join the United Book Lover’s Club (UBLC) with several esteemed members of the literary fraternity. The group consists of leaders (who are readers) and authorpreneurs.
The group has A Book A Day wherein a member provides their favorite book and why they loved that book so much. As someone that has read for the better part of two decades, it was surprising how easy it was to point out my favorite book. Therefore a huge thanks to the UBLC leadership for giving me the chance to share this all-important book!
Certain books talk directly to your soul. They silence your mind, make your intellect take a back seat, and indeed reveal what you or I were born to do. No, this is not a book about religion or a philosophical take on life.
It is a book on how specific experiences infect our fertile minds to make agreements with ourselves. These agreements cage us in a dream, keeping us away from reality by making us believe we are limited beings without the ability to make a change to ourselves or the world around us.
When we find ourselves trapped in the personality based on the agreements we have made consciously or subconsciously. Then we face the challenges and limitations of the character we find ourselves trapped into. We pay the heavy price of holding onto those agreements but ironically also secure in knowing the punishment we have accustomed ourselves to – it is a vicious circle.
We may try to break out of this circle we are trapped in, but it requires tremendous effort, and when we fail, we are back to where he had started.
That is where Don Miguel Ruiz comes in with this classic guide to personal freedom, The Four Agreements. Don suggests that the simplest way to get out of the circle is by breaking the old agreements you’ve made with yourself and create 4 new ones to replace them with:
- Be impeccable with your word
- Don’t take anything personally
- Don’t make assumptions
- Always do your best
I read this book for the first time in 2005; it was required reading at my door-to-door sales company to move to a team leader position. I vividly remember that afternoon as my 22-year-old self had an out of body experience to realize how I was trapped due to events or experiences entirely out of my control.
I had taken the poison spewed (through words or actions) by another entrapped soul and allowed it to create a dream which encaged me into a lifetime of punishment. I remember putting this book down with tears streaming down my eyes as I broke agreements and replaced them with these new ones.
I immediately bought another 10 copies and shipped them home for my family to read, and I ensured that each of my team members read it – from when I was a team leader to when I created Artha. I bought this book repeatedly, re-reading it every year or two to refresh the agreements and check whether I was entrapped in another dream once again. I’ve given this book away to total strangers on flights and to innumerable friends, even with my notes scribbled into the margins.
Even after 16 years of following these agreements, I find myself scratching the surface to understand the power they ultimately unlock. It is not a one-time read type of book; it is a read, implement and read once again type of book.
All you can do, like Don says through the final agreement: just do your best!