“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.

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”

“Oliver Twist” by Charles Dickens

OliverTwistI have taken a break from my normal cycle of 4 educational books followed by 1 enjoyment reading and repeat. I found that I was no longer enjoying my reading time as much as I have throughout my adult life. After much consideration, it came to me that the lack of time for implementation of learnings was likely the cause of my dismay. So, as opposed to slowing my reading, I chose to extend my enjoyment reading for a dedicated season. This Dickens novel is the first of this new season in my life and I am very thankful for it.

I am not sure if Oliver Twist was a part of my educational curriculum or not; it would not have made a difference either way. I worked harder to successfully avoid assigned reading without sacrificing the final grade during school years that it would have taken to simply read what I was supposed to. Either way, I am glad to have read this book. Continue reading ““Oliver Twist” by Charles Dickens”

“The Bassoon King” by Rainn Wilson

BassoonKingMy family is obsessed with television sit-com “The Office”. Rainn Wilson plays the role of Dwight. Dwight is my son’s favorite character; so, when he released an auto-biography, my son ordered it immediately. I was not personally interested in the book, but I am interested in reading anything that my children read.

The odd title of the book aligns with the odd character played by it’s author. The subtitled “My life in art, faith and idiocy” is an accurate synopsis of the book’s contents. This is probably not a book that will teach or inspire a broad audience. It is however, interesting information behind the man we know as Dwight Schrute.