After reading the Four Agreements, I was pretty excited to read The Fifth Agreement. I was a little disappointed, though, because a lot of the content rehashed the first four agreements, and not very much of the book was dedicated to the fifth agreement. However, it was helpful to review the first four agreements and see how the fifth agreement fit into the picture.
The book is split into two parts:
- Part 1: The Power of Symbols
- Part 2: The Power of Doubt
The five agreements are:
- Be impeccable with your word.
- Don’t take anything personally.
- Don’t make assumptions.
- Always do your best.
- Be skeptical but learn to listen.
The authors talk about how everything we know is expressed in our understanding of the meaning of symbols. This meaning does not necessarily represent what is true about something but rather what we believe about something.
The whole process of self-mastery starts with self-awareness. You can’t fix something that you aren’t aware of or don’t realize could be a problem. To truly master ourselves, we need to realize that we may believe in things that are not true. We need to question everything and try to get to the true meaning of things.
Some quotes I’ve highlighted in the book that I want to spend more time thinking about include:
- “You sacrificed your personal freedom to live according to somebody else’s point of view.”
- “The result of practicing the fifth agreement is the complete acceptance of yourself just the way you are, and the complete acceptance of everybody else just the way they are.”
- “…every word in our mind has a meaning, but not because it’s real, not because it’s truth. It’s just an agreement with ourselves and with everybody else who learns the same symbology.”
- “The truth is that all of our knowledge, 100 percent of it, is nothing more than symbolism or words that we invent for the need to understand and express what we perceive.”
- “The truth leads to self-mastery, to a life that’s very easy; our distortion of the truth often leads to needless conflict and human suffering. Awareness makes all the difference.”
- “The mastery of the human mind requires complete control of the attention — the way we interpret and react to information we perceive from inside us and outside of us.”
- “Be skeptical is masterful because it uses the power of doubt to discern the truth.”
- “Use the power of doubt to challenge every message that you deliver to yourself.”
I’m nowhere near the point of mastering any of the five agreements, but having an awareness of them is helping me to be more conscientious of my thoughts and is helping me question some of my own beliefs and my self-doubt. I hope to continue working on these agreements, growing as a person, and improving my life by applying them.