The Fifth Agreement: A Practical Guide to Self-Mastery, by Miguel Ruiz and Jose Ruiz

The Fifth Agreement: A Practical Guide to Self-Mastery, by Miguel Ruiz and Jose Ruiz

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My life experience might be simple, but I have learned a lot from my life. It is not necessary that someone’s experience has to be a good one to talk about; the point is he should have a passion to learn lessons from it. Every time you go through a bitter experience either in your travels, work, or somewhere else, I would have to say “Congrats! You have got a story to tell your grandsons someday.” I have learnt a lot of lessons from this life and taught myself beautiful lessons. I taught myself to stand firm, never give up, and do my best.

I have taught myself to say “yes” whenever I feel that I need to refuse, and I have taught myself to say “no” whenever the temptations are floating around me. I have learned that if I want to live happily, I have to be able to say “no” as I can say “yes.” Just by these two simple words, I changed myself and took control over it. “Be impeccable with your words” (27) is the first agreement that Miguel Ruiz and Jose Ruiz want to make an agreement with their readers in their book, “The Fifth Agreement.” By words, you can communicate with other people and tell them your opinions. The power of the word should not be underestimated; in some cases, it might be so tender that you can gain people to be in our side, but it might blow like a storm and pull out people’s real feelings. Ruiz in his book says “you are going to use the word to express the truth in every thought, in every action, in every word you use to describe yourself, to describe your own life story” (39).

One should be really careful in choosing the right words in the right times. I worked once in a team of freelancers for a courier company. I faced a problem while programing their website, and the supervisor of the team, who was from the company, asked me to take an immediate action. I replied to her quickly and said “I cannot do this until I discuss it with my team leader.” Her face turned red, and I just didn’t know what to do, so I looked into my laptop screen pretending I am working. Since then she saw me as a weak team player; whenever she wanted to ask about the project, she asked another teammate instead of me.

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If I said something like “yea, your idea is great, but it is better to wait for the team leader. He might suggest a better solution,” she would think of me as an open-minded person and patient, and she would see that I believe in my teammates and think of alternative solutions. Basically, she would see the characteristics of a gold person. Unfortunately, it did not happen, and I still regret it till now. Sometimes, a certain situation sticks into our mind. It might be a funny one, and you rewind it and smile. Someone asks you “why are you smiling? What is so funny?” You answer him “I remembered something.” On the other hand, it might be a sad incident, and you rewind it and frown. Someone asks you “What is the matter?” You answer him “I remembered something.” The answers in the both situations are exactly the same, but they have different effects on our surrounds and on us. “I remembered something” can make people around you happy and can make them sad. A wife had a throat infection for several days, and her husband and her sons were complaining about her rudeness. Later on, she was unable to talk and had to write whatever she wanted to say down on a board. She erased a lot of words from the board before someone read it because she saw rude words that used to come out of her mouth on the board. One must write whatever he wants to say down in his mind before showing them to other people.

If you watch a movie, usually there is one main character that the movie is about. It is all about him. You will see how he acts, behaves, thinks, and talks. The director basically wants to outstand the main character personalities, and the director wants us, as viewers, to perceive the main character in a certain way or another. However, how do other characters in the same movie perceive the main character? The secretary of the main character sees him differently from his wife and deals with him differently, and you can go on and name other actors according to their roles in the movie. Similarly, you think of and deal with other people differently. When you are with your close friends, you do things that you do not do them in front of your parents, and you use different language to talk to them. It is not schizophrenia, but we use our logic to think first then act according to what we are given in every situation. “Every mind is a world;” This is how Ruiz started the fourth chapter towards explaining the second agreement, “don’t take anything personally” (41). You might feel that your boss is not fair and does not praise you no matter how hard you work. See how he treats other employees; you will notice that he always asks for more and not satisfied with the results he gets from his employees. Therefore, “don’t take it personally” because your boss has a boss who asks for a lot. If you got a reward or recognized for a certain task, “don’t take it personally” (Ruiz 41) if your close friends did not show their interest in it. They just do not know the size of your accomplishment, and they do not know what you have been through to celebrate with you in an appropriate way. Is not it great that close people to you sometimes do not pay attention to you? Think about it; if it happened and they noticed every single mistake you commit, they would reveal all your disadvantages. You would be overwhelmed by those disadvantages.

There was an assumption among runners that a human being cannot run for a mile in less than four minutes and that anybody tries to break this number, his/her heart will explode. One of runners asked if there is really somebody tried to do it, and his/her heart exploded. Of course, it was an assumption, so the answer to his question was that nobody tried to do it. The runner started training to break this record, and he actually did it. People did not believe him at the beginning and thought that he was crazy, but he did it in front of them, and many other runners broke the record in the same year. For me, I see that making assumption is a deceiving tool and a flimsy excuse that separate us from success. “Most assumptions are not the truth; they’re fiction,” says Ruiz (67). Do not assume that your boss is a great boss then you would get shocked when he commits mistakes. Do not assume that your boss is a bad boss then you would hate him no matter how good he is to you. I actually have been into many assumptions until one day I was with my friends playing a card game. We were like around eight people in the room; one of them was new to me, and he was skilled at that game. We made a raffle draw, and I ended up being with the new guy. My cousin and my friend were friends of my partner, and they kept peeking at me and smiling, and I had no idea why. I thought I was good at the game; I usually end in the second place. They offered us to play first, but I refused giving an excuse that I am searching for something on the Internet. Anyway, when it was my team turn, my partner told me to play however I wanted. We beat all the teams and went over the teams again playing against them, but we lost at some point and got knocked out. I went to the washroom to wash my face and noticed a feather in my hair. At that time, I realized I was wrong about my assumption that I was not good enough to be a partner with the new guy, and I realized that my cousin is not funny!

“Do you best;” a typical advice we hear from people who expects an outcome from us, but can we do our best to challenge our beliefs? We are programmed by our parents to behave in certain ways in order to be part of society we live in. They taught us what the right is and what the wrong is. The biggest challenge is to face what you have believed it is right but turned to be wrong. Don Miguel says “from one moment to the next, you are never the same. You are alive and changing all the time, and your best is also changing from one moment to the next” (86).
By the time you get done with something by doing your best, you will harvest its fruit later. However, you must expect that there is a possibility of failing what you want to achieve. If you do your best and do not get what you want, at least you will be satisfied with what you have accomplished for and gain some experience from it; you are a winner at the end.

I used to work for a company where I was newly promoted as the office manager, and many changes were going on at that time. Rob Geis, the accountant, became an auditor, and Regina, a new employee, replaced Rob’s old job. I used to be in the same room where the accountant and the auditor were. Regina was organizing her files from the beginning since Rob was not really organized. One day, Rob took many files from the cabinet as usual and placed them back in the wrong order. Regina yelled at him claiming that he has no right to use her files. Rob, on the other hand, claimed that he an auditor and has the right to have an access to the files. They were arguing loudly in the office, so I went there just to see what the problem is and solve it. While in my way going to the room, I didn’t know how I was going to face them. I knew from them bottom of my heart that I am not a good leader and do not have leader’s characteristics; that was my assumption. However, because I was working in a professional manner, I was promoted to be the office manager. Anyways, all what it was in my mind is to cut out the noise they were making in the office. However, things were not going very well as I was expected to see when I arrived to the room; Regina’s face turned red, and she was about to cry. Just to avoid other employees seeing her face like that, I asked her to go to the waiting room. I had nothing to tell to Rob since I did not have a clear picture of what happened or who was right. As the office manager, I had to have words to say about the incident at that time, but I had nothing to say and preferred to wait for a couple of hours so both sides cool down. All what I wanted as a manager is my employees love, respect, and trust. I did not wanted to be that kind of bosses have the immediate decision without considering causes from both parties, but at that time, I felt that an immediate decision had to be taken. Instead, I focused on the most party got damaged, Regina. I went to her to listen from her. Of course, I made an assumption that Rob was thinking I were in favor of her, and any decisions that would be taken by me would be for her benefit. I listened to Regina, and she told me that she is the one who organized the files, and that Mr. Gonzalez , the company manager, gave her the cabinet and told her that she is responsible for it and the files. I, as a fresh computer-engineering graduate being in charge of a business office, had no experience or at least words to comfort her. I assumed that she was disappointed from me because I did not take any action regarding the case. I just wanted to do my best to get her respect to me as a manger, but I could not. I was “skeptical” (Ruiz 97) since I had not listened to Rob’s story, but I just listened to her because that all I could do at that time. After getting all what she wanted to say out of her chest, she looked happy to me because I was listening to her, and I saw satisfaction in her face. I realized later that she was a volcano full of words to get out of herself in shape of lava. We, as human beings, need someone to tell about our feelings. Regina had an issue deep in her heart and could not get it out until this incident occurred.

To make a long story short, a happy life can be obtained by experience. Going through a bitter experience makes you stronger and knowledgeable. With your experience and by listening to people, you can understand the life more and more. People can see the scares on your body, but they cannot feel the pain you are suffering from, so do not take it personally or make assumptions.


Works Cited


Ruiz, Miguel, Jose Ruiz, and Janet Mills. The Fifth Agreement: A Practical Guide to Self-Mastery. San Rafael, California: Amber-Allen Publishing, 2010. Print.
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