“The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz

Tom Brady is among the best quarterbacks in the history of football. Though that statement is argued by professional analysts and armchair quarterbacks, results matter. Tom Brady’s results speak loud a clear.

After a controversial ending to the 2015 NFL season, Tom Brady was preparing for his 5 week late entry into the 2016 schedule. Headed into his return to lead the New England Patriots, Brady accepted an ESPN interview. Brady was asked how he continues to perform at such a high level at an age when most professional athletes have either retired or are seeing their best days in the rearview mirror. Brady talked about keeping his mind right. He specifically stated that he rereads one book every year to help him with that.

So, Tom Brady says there is one book worth rereading every year, and that one book has been a primary key to his success! Naturally, I ordered the book quite immediately.

The book presents Toltec ideology for practical application. While some of the spiritual elements required me to take pause, the wisdom shared is of value to any person seeking life lived well.

The Four Agreements are:

  1. Be Impeccable with your Word: Through the word you express your creative power. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid speaking against yourself or 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 where they are in life.
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions: Find the courage to ask questions. Be willing to express your desired. Communicate clearly. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
  4. Always Do Your Best: Know that your best may be different at different times. Wherever you are, give your best that day and you will have nothing to regret.

A few quotes that I underlined while reading are:

  • Everything is made of light, and the space in-between isn’t empty. Everything that exists is one living being, and that light is the messenger of life, because it is alive and contains all information.
  • Everything in existence is a manifestation of the one living being we call God.
  • Everything is God.
  • What you are seeing and hearing right now is nothing but a dream.
  • To have faith is to believe unconditionally.
  • Even if the Book of Law is wrong, it makes you feel safe.
  • How many times do we pay for one mistake? The answer is thousands of times. The human is the only animal on earth that pays a thousand times for the same mistake. The rest of the animals pay once for every mistake they make. But not us. We have a powerful memory. We make a mistake, we judge ourselves, we find ourselves guilty, and we punish ourselves. If justice exists, then that was enough; we don’t need to do it again. But every time we remember, we judge ourselves again, and again, and again. If we have a wife or husband he or she also reminds us of the mistake, so we can judge ourselves again, punish ourselves again, and find ourselves guilty again. Is this fair?
  • Impeccability means “without sin”.
  • A sin is anything you do which goes against yourself.
  • Being impeccable with your word is not using the word against yourself.
  • How much you love yourself and how you feel about yourself are directly proportionate to the quality and integrity of your word.
  • If you don’t take it personally, you are immune in the middle of hell.
  • We have the habit of dreaming with no basis in reality.
  • It is not important if the answer is correct; just the answer itself makes us feel safe. This is why we make assumptions.
  • The best way to say, “I love you, God,” is to live your life doing your best.
  • The best way to say, “Thank you, God,” is by letting go of the past and living in the present moment, right here and now.
  • Whatever life takes away from you, let it go.
  • Letting go of the past means you can enjoy the dream that is happening right now.
  • The first three agreements will only work if you do your best.
  • True freedom has to do with the human spirit – it is the freedom to be who we truly are.
  • Just like hell, heaven is a place that exists within our mind.
  • Forgiveness is the only way to heal.
  • How are we to become a warrior?… The warrior has awareness… The warrior has control… The big difference between a warrior and a victim is that the represses, and the warrior refrains.
  • Only love has the ability to put you in that state of bliss.
  • Love in action only produces happiness.
  • Love will give you inner peace.

My Prideful Humility

How is it that people who are quite obviously eaten up with Pride can say they believe in God and appear to themselves very religious?

– C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)

I fear I have become and continue in becoming the object of whom this question is posed. I acknowledge this to be the essence of my depravity. It’s not that I think so highly of myself directly. I do, however, hold every thing, every effort, every attempt, every one up to the standard by which I measure expectations of myself. This continual comparison brings focus to the difference between each where I falsely assume my own approach to be the better of the two. So, while I may not hold myself in high esteem, I continually find that I am looking down on others.

This is not a conscious decision, which is all the more frightful in that it has become a part of who I am. I wish it were not so. I ask forgiveness. I work to be better. I achieve a moment of empathy where I truly see something for what it is, beautiful and glorious. I sense this to be a hint of humility. I am pleased with this growth in my nature – I take pride in my humility, now one step further from where I so desire to be.

God forgive me. Aid me in the transformation I so believe you have begun in me that I resist with such unintended veracity.

Quotes from “The Power of the Other” by Dr. Henry Cloud

The Power of the OtherI don’t have a whole lot to say abou this book in the form of a review. It was basically common sense with a few decent analogies. There was one paragraph in the book that made me wonder if this is how others see me:

It could be a boss, a board member, a customer, a friend, a family member, or a direct report. They come in all sizes and shapes and affiliations. But the one common ingredient is that they have the power to make you feel bad. High expectations, perfectionism, unreasonable demands, a critical spirit, withholding of praise, shame, guilt, put-downs, silence – these are just a few of the many ways that a person like this can hook someone into feeling the Corner Number Two bad connection.

I did grab a few more decent quotes along the way:

  • You don’t have a choice about whether or not others have power in your life. They do. But you do have a choice as to what kind of power others are going to have.

Continue reading “Quotes from “The Power of the Other” by Dr. Henry Cloud”

Review and Quotes from “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee

ToKillAMockingbirdThis is the all-time favorite book of my daughter – Alexa. Further, this is on the summer reading list for my son, Samuel. I always like to read whatever it is that my kids are reading; so, this one got added to the list and I am oh so glad it did. The tale is marvelously written and introduced me to the concept of a man whom I would like to model as the goal for many personal characteristics – Atticus Finch. The story is based in a time when blacks were legally free, but far from legally equal. During such a time, Atticus quietly and consistently stood for what was right. He did this for no other reason than the fact that he believed it was the right thing to do. Though I hate the atrocities of our past, I love everything about this book. It not only inspires me, it causes me to examine myself for bigotries, false pretences and impure motives that I may be blind to. This book is now a top 10 of all time for me. Continue reading “Review and Quotes from “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee”

Review and Quotes from “Thou Shall Prosper” by Rabbi Daniel Lapin

ThouShallProsperThis book offers 10 commandments for making money. The fact that Dave Ramsey had taken the time to read and write a forward for the book was the premise for battling through the poorly written and slow introductory chapters; however, I am glad I kept going. The book ended up being a very worthwhile real and brought on considerable thought to how I think about the business opportunities in my life.

The 10 commandments offered are:

  1. Believe in the Dignity and Morality of Business
  2. Extend the Network of You Connectedness to Many People
  3. Get to Know Yourself
  4. Do Not Pursue Perfection
  5. Lead Consistently and Constantly
  6. Constantly Change the Changeable, While Steadfastly Clinging to the Unchangeable
  7. Learn to Foretell the Future (this is when the book really started showing it’s worth for me)
  8. Know Your Money
  9. Act Rich: Give Away 10 Percent of You After-Tax Income
  10. Never Retire

Continue reading “Review and Quotes from “Thou Shall Prosper” by Rabbi Daniel Lapin”