The world has been awash with self-help books for some time now. I’m a fan, don’t get me wrong but you can get addicted to the latest advice and find yourself in a loop, thinking that this one last book/course/webinar will make all the difference. I found myself ordering each book that was recommended to me and feeling disappointed half-way through because it wasn’t a magic bullet. Well, duh.
So yeah, I realised a few months back that I’d had enough of the reading of the books. It was time to do the things…
I found myself reaching for a little book I’d owned for nearly 20 years. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. This is possibly the only self-help book anyone will ever need to read and as it turns out, the lessons Don Miguel teaches can be applied to writing and creating as well as forming a formula for a successful life.
The Four Agreements are:
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.
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. 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.
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.
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-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.
What more is there?
I read a sad Facebook post from Steve Biddulph, the brilliant author behind the seminal Raising Boys book. This book helped me so much when my son was little. (google him – he’s a legend!)
The post was sad because Steve, who has so much to teach us about what it is to be a man, has ‘had a gutful’. Now that’s an Aussie term for being fed up. Hang on, Fed up may also be an Aussie term.
Steve’s pissed off. Now that one is fairly universal! He wrote that he is taking some time away because he’s heartsick of what he called the ‘manbabies’ who are the ruling elite in the world today. He’s taking a sabbatical to find his inner peace, and when he comes back I hope he’s also got a fire in his belly again because the world needs people, and yes especially men, who are going to stand up to the Kavanaugh’s, the alt-rights, and the Cosby’s of this world.
Ideally, the outer world won’t affect our equanimity, but things are tough right now, and it’s essential everyone practices self-care to stay strong. But at the end of the day, we all need to stand up and be counted, be kind, be the change. Sometimes we have to be prepared to be angry because there’s a shit ton of stuff to be angry about.
Hurry back, Steve.