The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz was a personal turning point for me. It inspired me to be kinder and more meaningful in my interactions. Since reading the book in 1997, I have done my best (always!) to live in congruence with all Four Agreements: Be Impeccable with your Word, Don’t take Anything Personally, Don’t Make Assumptions and finally, Always Do Your Best. I think the Fourth Agreement is my favorite. Depending on which one of the four words is emphasized, this simple edict has very different meanings.
ALWAYS. I’m a perfectionist (it’s all that Virgo in me). Anal. Detailed. You get the picture. And sometimes I simply run out of time to make things as perfect as I know they could be. That’s when my Dad would tell me “Sometimes good enough is perfect.” It’s not settling exactly. It’s doing the best you can with what you’ve got. And sometimes what you’re short on is time and/or resources. If you aim for “always” then knowing you can only do what you can do will keep you from experiencing perfection paralysis.
DO. I think it would be fair to interchange the word BE for DO. Always Be Your Best. Always Do Your Best. Sometimes we get so caught up in the busy-ness of our daily lives that we forget we are human BEINGS, not human DOINGS. This distinction can change hour-by-hour during our day, but it’s important to make sure we do our best to find a BEINGS/DOINGS balance.
YOUR. Skylar Diggins, a WNBA player on the Tulsa Shock, said her Mom always told her “You don’t have to be the best, but you do have to be your best.” Smart Mom. Your Best. Not any one else’s best. Your Best. Only you can know, at the end of the game, at the end of the meeting, at the end of the day, whether what you gave was your best. I want to know that I gave everything – I did my best, according to my strengths and capabilities.
BEST. “That which is the most excellent, outstanding, or desirable.” Sounds almost daunting when you see the actual definition. In reality BEST is subjective, especially when coupled with YOUR. We each have our own talents. When we recognize and celebrate our own strengths, it’s easier to do the same for others. In his book, “Outliers,” Malcolm Gladwell suggests it takes 10,000 hours of practice in your chosen endeavor to reach expert status; which is to say to be THE BEST. I would imagine the number of people willing to commit to 10,000 hours is rather small. Not everyone wants to be the BEST. Not everyone is capable of being the BEST. But everyone is capable of doing their best. Always.
Which of the Four Agreements do you resonate with most? Why? I’d love to hear your comment below!