The Fourth Agreement – Always Do Your Best

I have just returned from a friend’s funeral which was a wonderful celebration of his life from his family and friends, but sitting there and listening to the tributes made me wonder if I would one day receive similar tributes.

When a marriage breaks up there is always a period of wondering about the what ifs and whether or not in different circumstances there would have been a different outcome. Now without going into detail, at the moment anyway, let me say that the last year of separation has caused me to question a lot of what went before in my life – was I a good husband and father, have I been a good son or brother. And the answer is yes and no.

Don Miguel Ruiz’s Fourth Agreement is “Always do your best.” But the rider to that is that you must recognise that your best is better some days than others. So at times I have been a good person in all of my many roles and other times I may not have lived up to other people’s expectations. But I always did the best I could at that particular time. Could I have done better, of course, and for those times I have disappointed people let me say I am sorry I wasn’t better. But I did my best.

For many people the feeling that we could have done better can lead to great anguish and guilt and I’m no different. I have done things that have hurt people, knowingly at times, and unknowlingly at others. In that I am no different to anyone else.

So if I was to write my own obituary “He did his best” would be one I could be happy with.


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