How often do we talk about paradigm shifts?
As you probably know by now, I love books. And I especially love practical books that can potentially transform my life by assisting me in making the changes I want and need. Most of the time, it all has to do with changing my beliefs, adjusting my mindset, and breaking a paradigm (or several haha).
During my Optimize Coach training, I took a “Quick Trip to Hell,” and that exercise transformed my pursuit of goals, the image I have for my self, and what I want to accomplish in this precious life.
Let’s take one quick trip to hell together
(side note: this is my interpretation of it, and how I do it with my self and my clients).
Close your eyes and imagine yourself in the very last few moments of your life. You are lying in bed, and all of a sudden, someone walks into the room. There’s something oddly familiar about this person, an air of confidence, and radiance about them. You can feel they’re so alive!
As this person comes closer, it suddenly dawns on you: it is you! More specifically, what you could have been, if you lived in integrity with what you know is true.
Once you have that realization, you die.
And that is the best definition of hell ever: knowing you could’ve done so much more. You could’ve been more authentic, enjoyed life more, be more successful, have loved deeply, etc.
I strongly encourage you to do this exercise. And use it to get a clear image of your best self.
Write it all down on paper. Describe to yourself how that best version of you looks like in detail. Mainly what are the behaviors and the virtues they embody consistently? Get clarity on that!
After writing it all, I remember looking at that piece of paper and getting goosebumps. My heartbeat was faster, and I was excited to do the work.
Awesome! Now what? Where do I start?
In the book, he talks about how we are all domesticated, and therefore not free. Combining that previous exercise with this idea made me pursue my most authentic self with wild enthusiasm.
Here are the four agreements and my personal take for each:
# 1 Be Impeccable With Your Word
In this agreement, Don Miguel tells us about the power of words. Now, this is something I already knew in my heart to be vital. Some part of me felt it already how some words would make me feel amazing and help me flourish, while others might keep me closed off, overthinking and self-conscious.
To put this into action, you need to be impeccable with your word, and this is imperative to make all other agreements work.
But first what does impeccable mean? Well, according to Don Miguel Ruiz, it literally means without sin. What is sin? Here’s how he puts it:
A sin is anything that you do which goes against yourself. Everything you feel or believe or say that goes against yourself is a sin. You go against yourself when you judge or blame yourself for anything.
He tells us being impeccable means not going against what you know to be true and right, plus taking responsibility for our actions.
It sounds very simple, but it is very, very powerful.
For me, that means doing everything I say. Period! If I commit to something, it will get done no matter what. And the more you practice this, the stronger and more powerful your word gets.
Also, you start being more careful about what you say to others because you know how impactful any statement is on yourself and everyone around you.
# 2 Don’t Take Anything Personally
By far, the most transformative agreement for me.
And not taking anything personally includes the good and the bad. Whenever someone says something about you, whether a compliment, a harsh criticism, or whatever, they are only speaking it because of themselves, it is not about you.
Let me put it this way. Imagine you are walking on the street and you run into someone you know. Now imagine that person just got a promotion and a raise, is happily married, and just got back from a fantastic family vacation. How’s your interaction going to be?
Now think of the same situation, but the person you meet just got fired. They are getting a divorce and haven’t slept in the past few days. What’s going to happen?
That is why:
Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.
I was so bad at this. I used to take everything personally. For many years, I was this quiet, shy thing, sitting in the corner, lamenting how imperfect I was. It was so painful, and the worst part is that I was doing it to myself.
It might sound easier said than done, but I promise you once you get started, it releases you. I’ve never felt freer. Although I am far from perfect and sometimes slip, it’s just a matter of reminding myself again and again.
That’s the trick. Repetition!
# 3 Don’t Make Assumptions
Another game-changer. I can’t tell you how many times I created a whole narrative in my head, suffered, and got angry for something that never happened.
When we make assumptions, we’re asking for problems. We make an assumption, we misunderstand, we take it personally, and we end up creating a whole big drama for nothing.
To break free from this one, all you need is to start asking questions. Don’t assume anything and ask about everything.
As I started putting this into action more and more consistently, all my relationships improved. I deepened my connections with friends, family, and colleagues. And as a by-product, I gained a significant empathy for others.
Asking questions requires a certain level of courage, I know. Often, if I ask something in front of other people, my heart starts pounding, and I start sweating. But you have to push through this to be free from assumptions.
It is worth it. Trust me!
# 4 Always Do Your Best
As someone who values excellence in all areas of life, I instantly resonated with this one. Here’s how he puts it in the book:
Under any circumstance, always do your best, no more, and no less. But keep in mind that your best is never going to be the same from one moment to the next. Everything is alive and changing all the time, so your best will sometimes be of high quality, and other times it will not be as good.
As a recovering perfectionist, I’d often be way too hard on my self. So, this agreement helps me strive for excellence in everything I do and practice compassion with myself. Because even giving all I got, I am fallible and prone to mistakes (as all human beings).
In the book, he tells us this agreement is the one:
…that allows the other three to become deeply ingrained habits.
# Bonus: My Journey
So let’s give our best to make these agreements a reality. Here’s to our most authentic self.
Liked it? I would love to know your impressions. Share them with me in the comments
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