While I am not usually a big fan of self-help books, a little book written by don Miguel Ruiz titled The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (1997, Amber-Allen Publishing), caught my attention when a thoughtful client shared with me that she is finding these four simple but clear ideas useful for focusing on what matters in her life and in her job search.
The book, despite sounding a bit ‘new agey’ and referencing ancient wisdoms, does carry a thoughtful message about four principles that all people would do well to live by. In fact, the principles are so fundamental that modern psychologists, especially cognitive-behavioral therapists, have developed entire theories of practice based on similar concepts.
To sum it up, don Miguel encourages us to reflect on ourselves and identify those irrational thoughts which interfere with our ability to move forward with confidence. He asks us to become more mindful about our assumptions and our thinking, and make a deliberate commitment to specific ways of understanding and engaging with the world.
As well as being an excellent life guide, it seems to me that these four approaches have the potential to be especially useful for job seekers. The book encourages people to reconsider their old ways of behaving and thinking about their world, and to commit to a more deliberate approach. The author identifies four agreements that people can make with themselves that can meaningfully enhance the integrity with which they conduct themselves: