This is part 2 of a 5-part series based on the work of Don Miguel Ruiz in The Voice of Knowledge and The Four Agreements.
All humans create their story with their own unique point of view. Why try to impose your story on other people when for them your story is not true? When you understand that, you no longer have the need to defend what you believe. It's not important to be right or to make others wrong. Instead you see everybody is an artist, a storyteller. You know that whatever they believe is just their point of view. It has nothing to do with you.
So, if we have the awareness that we create our own story, then how do we actually do that and transform our lives? Before we are able to make the Four Agreements with ourselves that help us create a wonderful story, there are a few general principles and rules we must understand.
First, in the framework of creating our story, we must understand the principle of action and reaction. Our feelings and emotions are the reactions. They are the indicator of how our life is going and they are always real, but they are not the problem that needs to be fixed. The action that causes our feelings and emotions is our belief system and perceptions. The action is what we choose to believe…lies or truth. So we don’t need to change or repress our feelings and emotions; we simply need to change our beliefs and our emotions will change as a result.
In addition, there are two basic rules to follow when looking at the stories created by human beings. Don’t believe yourself and don’t believe anybody else. You might understand why we wouldn’t believe anybody else but don’t believe ourselves? Remember that the voice of knowledge is our thinking and most of that knowledge is lies. Don’t believe everything you hear in the news, don’t believe everything you read on the internet, but also don’t believe everything that other people tell you (including what I am telling you right now) or that you tell yourself! Keep your mind open, keep your heart open, and listen to the stories without judging them but don’t believe them initially. Steven Sample referred to this as “thinking gray.” Instead of making an instant judgment about a situation or piece of information as either white or black (right or wrong), he advised us to think gray (neutral). This allows us to decide if this is something that we want to place in our heart. We need to use our mind as a filter that only allows the truth to enter our heart.
Keeping these general principles and rules at hand, let’s look at the first agreement to write our own story which is to be impeccable with our word. This means that we do not use the word against ourselves or against others when we create our story.
Don’t use the word against ourselves…sounds pretty easy, right? However, when we reflect on our lives we understand that we are the ones that abuse ourselves far more than other people abuse us. We are constantly judging and criticizing every one of our thoughts, perceptions, and actions. We don’t need to judge our thoughts—just don’t believe them! If we don’t believe the pieces of knowledge that are lies, then our perceptions will change, and when our perceptions change our actions change. When we are impeccable with our word we take responsibility for our actions, but we don’t judge or blame them. If we want to change our actions so we change our story, then we need to change what we believe.
Once we understand that we don’t have to believe everything we think in our own mind, then we can see that we really don’t have to believe anything anybody else tells us. Don Miguel Ruiz calls this immunity from the spell that others are trying to cast on us. After reading The Voice of Knowledge, I started using these principles with my children.
When our daughter complained that someone at school called her stupid, I simply asked her, “Is that the truth?”
She said, “No.”
I responded with, “Okay, so don’t believe it.”
Does that mean it will never happen again? No, but she is learning that what other people say about her has no power over her unless she allows it to.
What about the fact that someone called his sister stupid? Well, that brings up the other aspect of being impeccable with our word, which is gossip. Don Miguel Ruiz compares gossip to a computer virus. It is written in the same code as other language, but it has a harmful intent. But it takes more than simply saying we will stop gossiping. Remember, the gossip is the reaction; the action is the belief that we need to prove we are right and others are wrong. Again, change the belief and the action will change.
In addition, if someone calls us stupid they are saying it with a harmful intent. But if there is no harm done then their intention is fruitless. The truth does not need anyone to believe it, but lies do. And if no one believes the lies, then they fail to exist.
So, don’t use the word against ourselves, don’t allow others to use the word against us, and don’t use the word against others. Is the word really that powerful? Adolf Hitler was able to create massive destruction by using the word. Terrorism is based on the fear that comes from believing lies. Our word is powerful and it is a force. When we use the word against ourselves and against others it reveals the amount of love we have for ourselves. How we feel about ourselves is in direct proportion to the quality and integrity of our word. If we no longer believe the lies, then instead of reacting with negative emotions there is only one emotional reaction to have and that is love.
#1 When you have a negative emotion (reaction) about something, write down the thought that caused the negative emotion. Is it the truth? Choose whether or not to believe the thought (action).
#2 When you are talking to someone or gathering information, think gray for as long as possible without making a judgment. Analyze how many problems will simply resolve themselves or go away without making a quick black or white judgment.
In part 3 we will look at the second agreement which is don’t take anything personally.
Part 1: Write Your Own Story
Part 2: Always Be Impeccable with Your Word
Part 3: Don’t Take Anything Personally
Part 4: Don’t Make Assumptions
Part 5: Always Do Your Best
The Voice of Knowledge by Don Miguel Ruiz
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership by Steven Sample
Inspiring leaders to Rise Above and Enjoy the Journey!
Success vs. Achievement
Chop Wood Carry Water
Would You Rather...
First Things First
Do You Have Trouble Sleeping?
What is Your Plan?
One Word: Blessed
The Pursuit of Happyness
You Win in the Locker Room First
What Are You Training For?
Winning Is A Mindset
Always Be Faithful in Small Things
Are You a Leader?
What is Your Why?
I Love Watching You Play
Keep on Failing
The Coach is the Student
The Contrarian's Guide to Leadership
Now They Know
Esse Quam Videri
Powered by Purpose
Are You All In?
The Eyes of Your Heart
Sunrise or Sunset?
We Need Boundaries
What is Right Over Who is Right
Carry Your Bobsled
Do You Have Any Suggestions for Improvement?
Sing Out Loud
Be An Eagle
The Power of One
You Are a Lighthouse
I Hate The Grind
Closing the Gap
The Big Time
What Profit Are You Seeking?
A Better Life
Don't Do It For the Applause
A Harvest of Impact
It's a Wonderful Life
One Word for 2018: INTENTNESS
Write Your Own Story
Be Impeccable with Your Word
Don't Take Anything Personally
Don't Make Assumptions
Always Do Your Best
A Second Chance