The Four Agreements – Always Do Your Best
This is the last episode around the book:
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
To summarize, The Four Agreements are:
First Agreement: Be impeccable with your word
Second Agreement: Don't take anything personally
Third Agreement: Don't make assumptions
Fourth Agreement: Always do your best
Today, I’m going to focus on the last agreement: Always do your best.
Don Miguel Ruiz defines this Fourth Agreement as:
1. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret
2. Your best is going to change from moment to moment (it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick)
I love how he articulates “Always do your best” because it brings balance to this agreement.
If you take only the first part of the definition – simply do your best under any circumstance – we put an enormous burden on our shoulders.
If you have the tendency to be a perfectionist, you would zoom into this part of the agreement and use it as a great excuse to feed your perfectionism.
If you have the tendency to be a workaholic, you would zoom into this part of the agreement and use it as a great excuse to keep working and working, and working.
I have to remind myself about the work of Brené Brown that I spoke about in episode 16: Courage To Be Imperfect.
Perfectionism is not the same as striving to be our best.
Perfectionism is different than self-improvement.
I have to keep in mind the second part of the definition – our best is going to change from moment to moment.
Do our best, even be our best, is different from trying to be perfect.
I believe that if we fall into the trap of going for perfection, we are not doing our best.
We'll be procrastinating because of the fear of not being perfect.
These two parts of the definition of “Always do your best” are like the 2 sides of a coin.
They exist together.
To the perfectionists out there (including me), I want to read a passage from the book that I think is essential in order to live The Four Agreements:
You don't need to judge yourself, feel guilty, or punish yourself if you cannot keep these agreements.
If you’re doing your best, you will feel good about yourself even if you still make assumptions, still take things personally, and still are not impeccable with your word.
If you do your best always, over and over again, you will become a master of transformation.
Life is a journey of learning.