Ki Moments Blog

Support for life’s “key” moments.

August 16, 2016

More Blessed, Less Stressed: My Four Agreements

More Blessed, Less Stressed: My Four Agreements


"Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world."

~ Buddha


Recently I found myself offering words of encouragement to my nephew and his bride in advance of their upcoming wedding. What interested me was that the words were very similar to suggestions I'd made to a client upon the completion of some work together.

I had to stop and think about that.

Was I really saying the same thing in these very different settings?

I was.

And when I looked more deeply, I saw how the suggestions suited both circumstances. My intent was to offer support in both cases, and the applications are limitless. Like Don Miguel Ruiz' Four Agreements, they are guides to peace and quality of life--medicine for our volatile and stress-inducing world.

I hope you agree and would love to hear your thoughts.

1) Always be kind, even in anger. 

It's easier to be kind when we're at peace with ourselves. What takes practice is being present enough with anger that we can use it to connect with others instead of harming them. 

In our media-fueled environment, public reactions of anger are commonplace--Facebook shouting matches and images of contorted faces. When you're centered, it's possible to be angry and kind at the same time. Powerful and humble. Assertive and empathetic.

Stop living in an either/or world. Acknowledge and appreciate your anger and what it has to teach you. Be kind when you communicate it to others. You'll be heard much more clearly.

look-for-reasons-to-be-grateful2) Look for reasons to compliment and be grateful.

It's easy to be critical. For historic reasons having to do with lions and tigers and bears--oh, my!--our brains are designed to notice the negative and hold onto it. Because of this, you'll want to offer more appreciative comments than critical ones for the appreciation to be heard -- 3 to 1 to be exact. Wouldn't you agree, it makes life more fun to look for what you appreciate and to acknowledge it? You begin to feel more blessed and less stressed. Try it. Let me know if I'm right.

3) When problems arise, look for solutions instead of trying to be right.

When problems arise, most of us try to prove we're right. Our political leaders offer great examples of this--unfortunately--each side insisting how right they are instead of inviting each other to solve the many problems facing our nation and our world. The Harvard Negotiation Project, publisher of the well-known text, Getting to Yes, tells us to be hard on the problem and soft on the people and to turn our adversaries into problem-solving partners. This builds relationships, and that's important, whether you're business or life partners.

It takes practice in self-awareness and emotion management to separate the people from the problem. And more to the point, it takes a clear vision and an investment in the relationship.

4) Hold tight to your vision.failure-for-a-purpose-learning

When the obstacles start flying, remember your vision--for your life, your company, your calling--and you'll discover the power of purpose. Obstacles can provide energy to clarify your vision. Why are you here? What are you supposed to learn from each challenge?

In Aikido, falling is an art form. We fall down over 100 times a night--and we get up again. This is failure for a purpose--to learn the resilience and flow of Aikido. When difficulties arise, a strong vision of what the relationship, the organization or the business can be will keep you in learning mode.

Ki Moments

Look for key (ki) moments today to practice these four qualities. Make an agreement with yourself to be kind, to compliment, to be a problem-solver and vision driven. For you and your life. And for the planet, because you have more power than you think to influence the world around you.

Good ki!

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