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James Altucher


The James Altucher Show: The Fifth Agreement!

I learned a lot from this episode. It was with don Jose Ruiz, author of "The Fifth Agreement", and son of don Miguel Ruiz, author of "The Four Agreements".

These two books are definitely among the most inspirational I have read and many can say that as "The Four Agreements" has sold something like 10 million copies.

This is the episode:

    1. What I learned new from "Be Impeccable with your word"

    This is from the first agreement in the four agreements. I always assumed the obvious: that it meant being totally honest with others. Not "radical honesty" where you say whatever comes to your mind but more like "don't deceive" and do what you say you will do.

    However, one more nuance to it that I realized this episode. Be honest with yourself also. Too often we ignore our weaknesses, or try too hard to justify angers and resentment. Be honest with yourself why you might doing that. Often anger is fear clothed. Ask, what is it I am afraid of.

    2. Failures are medicine.

    I fail at many things: sometimes investing, sometimes entrepreneurship, or relationships, or writing, or even a game of chess.

    Often I'll feel down about the failure and even discouraged at trying again. Except always reframe failure as "medicine". What can it cure for your future. Which leads to...

    3. Today you are the youngest you will ever be again.

    What will you do with that "youth"? Live in the past. Or new, exciting things going forward.

    4. Always Listen, and be skeptical

    The "be skeptical" doesn't mean, "doub't whatever anyone says".

    It means, if someone is wanting something, or you are wanting something, or angry about something, or anxious, or even overly confident, ask yourself what is really going on. Be skeptical of other's intentions as well as your own.

    I always say to my kids, "There's always a good reason and a real reason." When my daughter was in high school if she says, "I have to go to the library to study" that's always a good reason when the real reason might be "Boys are at the library!"

    Listen carefully to see what the real reasons might be.

    5. Always do your best. - The Fourth Agreement

    This doesn't necessarily mean, always do your best at work or at sports or whatever.

    But if this body is what we have for this life, then always do your best taking care of it. Sleep, food, exercise, reading, trying to be calm when times are hard, trying to understand that none of this really matters in the long run.

    And if you "fail" at always doing your best, that's ok. Start over. Now you have the rest of your life to live. Don't spent it regretting the time you ate too much or didn't do the best in a relationship , etc.

    6. Don't judge.

    Again, not just others, but yourself. We don't really know all the reasons we do things, good or bad. Don't judge, just try to do your best.

    7. Don't take it personally.

    I had forgotten about this agreement before we did the podcast but I wish I had lived by this the past few years. Sometimes it's difficult to not take things personally.

    Over the years of writing about lots of topics, I've heated people up many times and have lost many friends, and even family, simply because of my stance on things I've written about.

    At times it's been very painful. But, who knows what these others have been growing through and why I triggered something in them. I can't judge. I might not like how they treated me but rather than waste time judging something I don't understand, it's important to just move forward.

    8. Don't make assumptions.

    If someone doesn't call me back, I always assume they are upset at me. Maybe this means I am somewhat insecure., I don't know. But this is an important one to remember.

    9. "Mastery of Life"

    "Mastery of Life" is a book by don Miguel Ruiz Jr." He was also on the podcast although on a different episode.

    It's a reminder that mastery of life or, becoming your authentic self" is a function of following The Four Agreements:
    - be impeccable with your word
    - don't take things personally
    - don't make assumptions
    - always do your best.

    10. The universality of these agreements.

    The Ruiz's were raised in "the Toltec tradition". The Toltecs were a native-american group that was around before the Mayans and then integrated into Mayan society.

    One of the key aspects that all of these books has is that the world we live in is a dream. We get domesticated into this dream by parents, peers, teachers, colleagues, media, etc.

    We used words to describe the dream and we think the dream is reality even though "words" have only existed for a relatively short time compared with the universe and we perhaps rely too much on words to simplify things that are enormously complex or subtle.

    What's interesting to me is the many traditions these ideas come from. Not only the Toltec tradition of don Miguel Ruiz but also Buddhists who use the word "maya" to describe the illusion of everything, or Taoists, who say the Tao is the only thing that is real and yet it is nameless and cannot be described, or Eckhart Tolle, who says nothing exists but this current moment, and that is the only reality, and on and on and on.

    Someone should make a "Universal Bible" describing the common threads through every belief system.

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