4 Agreements That Will Transform Your Life

There’s a great self development book called The 4 Agreements written by Don Miguel Ruiz.

The 4 Agreements are based on ancient Toltec wisdom from the native people of Southern Mexico. The Toltec were people of knowledge, scientists and artists who created a society to explore and conserve the traditional spiritual wisdom and practices of their ancestors.

And it may seem strange that I’m writing about this on a marketing blog but I believe that in order to work effectively in your business and serve others well you must first be well yourself.

And these four agreements are a great path to reach a state of mind that will allow you to be in peace with yourself and others.

These agreements are very simple and elegant; if you take them to heart and practice them they will change your life for sure.

They provide an inspiring code for life, a personal development model and a template for behavior, communications and relationships.

And the agreements are:

First agreement: Be impeccable with your words.

Your words constitute the power you have to create.

Words are the most powerful tool you have as a human being, the instrument of magic. Depending on how you use them, words can free you or enslave you, even more than you think they can. This includes the words you say to others and your internal dialogue.

Impeccable means without sin. Always give words of encouragement, love and hope and be vigilant of what you say to yourself and others.  Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others.

Second agreement: Don’t take anything personally.

Self-importance, or taking things personally, is the ultimate expression of selfishness, because we believe that everything revolves around us.

During the period of our education (domestication as Don Miguel calls it), we learned to take all things personally. We have to realize that nothing other people do is for you, what other people do, they do it for themselves, even when they hurt or insult you.

When someone hurts you he causes the damage to himself, not to you. When someone judges you he doesn’t define you, he defines himself as someone who needs to judge.

We all live in our own world, in our own mind, each of us lives in a completely different world from one another. What others say and 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.

Third agreement: Don’t make assumptions.

We tend to make assumptions about everything. The problem is that in doing so, we believe that what we assume is true; we could even swear is real.

We make assumptions about what others do or think and we take it personally, then we blame them and react by sending emotional poison with our words. This is why when we make assumptions we create problems.

We make an assumption, misinterpret things, we take it personally and we end up creating a big drama for nothing. Don’t assume anything, it’s better to ask and be certain of things. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want.

Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

Fourth agreement: Always do your best.

This last agreement is the one that makes the other 3 agreements become deeply ingrained habits.

Always do your best. Under any circumstance, always give your maximum effort, no more and no less, give your all.

But always keep in mind that your maximum effort will vary from time to time. All things are alive and in constant change, and so in some occasions your maximum effort will render great quality, and in others not so good.

By always doing your best you’ll avoid self-judgment and regrets.

I encourage you to make a conscious effort and practice these 4 agreements for a week; if you do so you’ll be amazed with the results.

What are your thoughts on these 4 agreements? How would the world be different if we all practiced them?

Please share your opinion by leaving a comment below

And would you like me to continue posting self-development post like this one from time to time?


Alex4 Agreements That Will Transform Your Life

Comments 45

  1. Keith Baxter

    I just read this book several weeks ago. After reading it, I bought the audio version and the ‘cliff notes’ version.

    I truly believe this to be one of the most important books in my library.

  2. Joe


    This might be your best post yet! I have several of your tools which are terrific! And you always have great info to pass along…this is the best one yet. Short, very true and correct…and some great advice to follow. In fact, I will be sharing this with our 3 kids.
    thanks again!

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  3. Nathan Garnett

    Thanks. I Read these 4 agreements many years ago and have practiced them to the best of my ability. Good to read them again!

  4. JBG

    As someone who studies self development I enjoy finding this kind of information on your blog Alex.

    I personally can’t imagine a world where all people live by the four agreements. But even speculating on this subject seems to go against the third agreement so it’s a bit dicey.

    Thanks for the information.

  5. MartinJ

    Alex: Ever since I ran across The Four Agreements, I’ve adopted them as my code to living. One and Four were lessons I learned as a youth from my family, particularly my Dad. But Two and Three were new to me. Together they’ve changed my perspective and paradigm. Now I’m much more able to cope with the supposed complexities of our modern society.

    Thank for bringing the book to your reader’s attention.

  6. Olghi

    Very uplifting to see your post Alex. I am grateful reading this, and being reminded that in all situation we need to practice the them. 🙂

  7. David Suiter

    I am currently implementing a 41 day “experiment” with the power of my words and this is right up the same street Alex…very profound and absolutely true!

    Thanks Alex,

    David in SC

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      Alex Safie

      Hi David,

      Most of us don’t realize the POWER that our words have in our life and in the life of others.

      Being mindful of our internal dialog and what we say to others is very important.

  8. Paul Tomlinson

    I firmly believe in self improvement books and they have helped turn my life around from being a shy and meek individual to one with strength and courage. I haven’t seen The Four Agreements up until now. Thanks for sharing Alex!!!

  9. Herschel Lawhorn

    Hi Alex, I don’t know where I have been. I must have been living under a rock. I don’t remember seeing these four agreements anywhere before, but I certainly will remember them and I will find the book and read it.

    I am a true believer in this kind of stuff. In fact one of my main mottos is “If you believe you can or you believe you can’t, you are right.”

    Thanks for posting such great information.

    Herschel Lawhorn

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  10. Kimberly

    It’s humbling, but true…taking criticisms and comments personally is selfish thinking. It has been hard for me to really embrace that one. Another way I have heard it phrased is “Other people’s opinions of you are none of your business.”

    Since you are asking, yes, please include more posts like this.

    Really appreciate your taking the time to share this with your readers.

  11. Indigojute

    Hello Alex

    Great blog post today. I have never heard of the four agreements or the book you mentioned, however I have worked out my own mantras that say very much the same thing but even more concise.

    As a social emotional/logical person I have found that most judgments, opinions, understandings and misunderstanding of others is based upon ones own perspective and experience of life.

    So to fathum out other peoples behavior, I repeat the following phrase to myself “Everybody judges everybody else by their own standards” This one phrase helps me understand people better.

    Try it now, think of someone who doesn’t like you and you do not know why, they just don’t!

    Now say the phrase until you understand it’s meaning. You will soon realise that you have been judging them by your own standards and them you, hence the conflict.

    “Knowledge is knowing but experiencing the knowledge is understanding” another phrase I use to accommodate my emotional side, since all my actions are emotional and it is only when I take action that I understand this.

    So now apply this last phrase to your agreements –

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      Alex Safie

      You are absolutely right.

      Another way to understand other people’s behavior is to know that “everybody does the best they can with the resources they have”

  12. Rudy Espinosa

    Alex (amigo),

    Thanks for sharing this. I recently began to change my way of thinking along these lines and this book is another great resource to help me understand my purpose and potentials. Your SEO tools are awesome and I am even more grateful to be associated with you knowing that our goals in life are very similar.


    Rudy (Rodolfo)

  13. Neil

    Hi Alex,

    Another thoughtful and insightful post – thanks for taking the time to share this. I get so much rubbish in my inbox these days. It’s refreshing to get something worthwhile like this. I might have to buy this book 🙂

    Keep up the good work.


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  14. Gerard

    Hi Alex,

    This post is refreshing and absolutely great stuff. I never heard about this book before but came across these principles from different sources of knowledge and inspiration. Putting all four together and labeling them as “agreements” is powerful and gives excellent guidelines for self improvement. The “agreement” that I found the most original is not making assumptions about the behavior of other people. Stressing it as an area of improvement is great because it’s rarely something that we pay attention to.

    I liked very much this post (as well as others on this blog), as well as other good stuff that you are sending to my mail.

    I appreciate your balance between expertise in online marketing and ethical thinking. Continue the great job.

    Thank you!


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  15. Jason

    Great post Alex… loved the quote also in my email… “Death is not the biggest fear we have;
    our biggest fear is taking the risk to be
    alive – the risk to be alive and express
    what we really are”
    ― Miguel Ruiz

    My main motto I have used since high school… “thinking is one thing. Doing is another”

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  16. Michael Steinberg

    Alex, All I see is a beautiful way to react to people around you in this world, and all it did is remind me that I have not been diligent enough from day to day, and use it. I will try to improve…honest.

  17. Reginal

    Alex these are truly 4 great guides to living life the way it should. One of the rules really made me think because of my pride in what I do I take way too many things personally and that was one of the things I tell myself daily as I start my day so this is re-inforcement.

  18. Cheryl

    Just what I needed – thanks, Alex. And yes, do include occasional yet regular post along these lines We could all do with a “shot in the arm” for self improvement!

  19. Robert Shields

    Hi Alex,

    I literally stumbled on this post and again realise that somebody, somewhere guides us to where we find the right answers to our problems.

    Recently I purchased a $119.00 item from a well-known ‘guru’ who I honestly believed to be honest and ethical. He gas turned out to be absolutely the opposite, or so I believe.

    I have sent lots of tickets and emails asking for help with the program, all of which he has ignored.

    I felt bitter and began to plan ways to hit back at him for ‘cheating’ me.

    Then I read your 4 Agreements.

    The first 3 are so relevant and I will now just put it all behind me remembering it is himself he is hurting and not me.

    Thank you Alex as I must admit I was getting obsessed with the treatment I received. You have been in the past and still are, an inspiration to us all.

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      Alex Safie

      Thank you Robert,

      Glad to hear that the 4 Agreements helped you put this anger behind you.

      It’s natural to seek revenge when we feel someone has done us wrong – but when we allow that feeling to dwell within us we are only hurting ourselves.

      A very wise quote by Buddha comes to mind as I’m writing this…

      “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned”

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  20. thomas

    Alex,i am new to your list,in fact i think this is the first email from you.I must say that after reading this i think i am in good hands being on your list.I have never heard of this book until now,WOW,these are great lessons in these words.I will definately get this book,thank you.I think i’ll stay on your list,by the way.

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  21. Stephen Massam

    Hi Alex,

    Excellent post,I have been in that state of Emotional Poison may years ago after losing every thing.
    Not a nice place to be.

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      Alex Safie

      Hi Stephen,

      I agree, that is not a nice place to be – the good thing is that we all have the power to decide if we want to stay there or move on

  22. Michael E. Schmidlen

    I had the GREAT opportunity to both meet & talk to Don Miguel at an event in Boulder, CO a couple of years ago. One of the kindest, warmest, most genuine people I’ve EVER had the good fortune to meet. The Fifth Agreement is a good read too 🙂

    Happy to see that there are some in the IM community who are starting to get in touch with their human sides in a traditionally transaction based world!

    Keep up the good work!

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