Always Do Your Best
Don Miguel Ruiz

  

There is just one more agreement, but it's the one that allows the other three to become deeply ingrained habits.  The fourth agreement is about the action of the first three:  Always do your best.

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 high quality, and other times it will not be as good.  When you wake up refreshed and energized in the morning, your best will be better than when you are tired at night.  Your best will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick, or sober as opposed to drunk.  Your best will depend on whether you are feeling wonderful and happy, or upset, angry, or jealous.

In your everyday moods your best can change from one moment to another, from one hour to the next, from one day to another.  Your best will also change over time.  As you build the habit of the four new agreements, your best will become better than it used to be.

Regardless of the quality, keep doing your best--no more and no less than your best.  If you try too hard and do more than your best, you will spend more energy than is needed and in the end your best will not be enough.

When you overdo, you deplete your body and go against yourself, and it will take you longer to accomplish your goal.

But if you do less than your best, you subject yourself to frustrations, self-judgment, guilt, and regrets.

Just do your best--in any circumstance in your life.  It doesn't matter if you are sick or tired, if you always do your best there is no way you can judge yourself.  And if you don't judge yourself there is no way you are going to suffer from guilt, blame, and self-punishment.  By always doing your best, you will break a big spell you have been under.

There was a man who wanted to transcend his suffering so he went to a Buddhist temple to find a Master to help him.  He went to the Master and asked, "Master, if I meditate four hours a day, how long will it take me to transcend?"

The Master looked at him and said, "If you meditate four hours a day, perhaps you will transcend in ten years."

Thinking he could do better, the man then said, "Oh, Master, what if I meditated eight hours a day, how long will it take me to transcend?"

The Master looked at him and said, "If you meditate eight hours a day, perhaps you will transcend in twenty years."

"But why will it take me longer if I meditate more?" the man asked.

The Master replied, "You are not here to sacrifice your joy or your life.  You are here to live, to be happy, and to love.  If you can do your best in two hours of meditation, but you spend eight hours instead, you will only grow tired, miss the point, and you won't enjoy your life.  Do your best, and perhaps you will learn that no matter how long you meditate, you can live, love, and be happy."
      

Sit at the foot of a native elder and listen as great wisdom of days long past is passed down.  In The Four Agreements shamanic teacher and healer Don Miguel Ruiz exposes self-limiting beliefs and presents a simple yet effective code of personal conduct learned from his Toltec ancestors.  Full of grace and simple truth, this handsomely designed book makes a lovely gift for anyone making an elementary change in life, and it reads in a voice that you would expect from an indigenous shaman.

  
    

If one is called to be a street sweeper, one should sweep the streets
even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music
or Shakespeare wrote poetry.  One should sweep the streets so well
that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say,
here lived a great street sweeper who did his or her job well.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

  


 
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