Whenever I meet people I’m inspired by, I try to understand how they do what they do. Among many questions I ask one is “What book that you read was the most influential on you?”. I take the time to read it as well and reflect. If I have an opportunity to discuss it with that person and ask questions I always do so. For me the fundamental purpose of life is to keep learning – keep improving – keep sharing what you know and creating something new… bringing value to people around you and the society as a whole.
My peer, who I respect tremendously, has recently pointed out the book he said was life-changing for him called “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. I later learned that ideas in that book came from the ancient Toltec wisdom of 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 knowledge and practices of their ancestors. The Toltec viewed science and spirit as part of the same entity, believing that all energy – material or ethereal – is derived from and governed by the universe. The simple ideas of The Four Agreements provide an inspirational code for life; a personal development model, and a template for personal development, behavior, communications and relationships. Here is how Don Miguel Ruiz summaries ‘The Four Agreements’:
Agreement 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.
Agreement 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.
Agreement 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.
Agreement 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.
As I read the book I can’t help but draw parallels to my personal and professional experiences. I see each agreement being relevant to IT Service Provider Organizations,where the objective should be to build an amazing Customer Experience through people-first culture.