Shanna has been an educator for 20 years and earned her Master of Education degree in 2017. She enjoys using her experience to provide engaging resources for other teachers.
The Four Agreements Discussion Questions
Don Miguel Ruiz wrote The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom to provide a pathway for readers to experience life at its best. The book engages readers in four significant concepts, each with its own unique life application. A practical and philosophical guide, this book can spur discussion on a wide range of topics from interpersonal relationships to integrity.
Use these discussion questions with your high school students to help them broaden their understanding of the concepts and apply them to their own lives. You may want to conduct a whole class discussion or provide a list of questions to student teams. You may also consider asking students to respond in writing to one question from each agreement to serve as a summative assessment of their learning.
*Note: These discussion questions should be used after students have read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz or have a clear understanding of the concepts shared in his book.
Agreement One: Be impeccable with your word.
- What does it mean to be impeccable with your word? How do words create reality?
- How can you use this agreement in your own life? How can you use it to help others?
- Ruiz asserts that judging and blaming oneself can cause harm. What is the difference between admitting fault if you make a mistake and judging yourself because of it? How can you prevent yourself from judgment, blame, and criticism of yourself and others?
- What negative words do people often use toward themselves? How can these negative words affect self-love? How can we change the words we use to affect change in our lives?
- How do people use the power of words to create or destroy energy in themselves and in the world? Have you ever experienced the negative impact of another person's words? What are some current societal examples of using words to help or harm others?
Agreement Two: Don't take anything personally.
- What does it mean to take something personally? How can you avoid doing so? How can you apply this agreement to your life?
- Is there such a thing as constructive criticism and should one use it to reflect on one's choices, character, and behaviors? What is the difference between taking feedback as a tool for reflection and not taking others' words or actions personally?
- How does defending yourself against a verbal attack violate this agreement? What effect does it have on your self-image? How does it affect your interpersonal relationships?
- If a person is using negative words or actions toward you, does that mean they have a negative opinion of or emotion toward you? What else could be causing their negativity? How can understanding ''where people are coming from'' help you keep this agreement?
Agreement Three: Don't make assumptions.
- What is an assumption and how can it be used to harm yourself and others? How can this agreement help improve your life? How can you apply it to your relationships?
- One way to prevent making assumptions is to ask questions. What are some ways that asking questions rather than making assumptions might help a situation?
- Have you ever made an unnecessary or incorrect assumption? When did you realize you were wrong? How did it affect your relationship with yourself or the other person?
- How can you work to understand another person's point of view? How does it feel when someone tries to understand yours? How can this practice improve interpersonal relationships?
Agreement Four: Always do your best.
- Does ''doing your best'' mean the same thing for all people? Why or why not? Why might your personal best vary from day to day? Can you determine whether another person is doing their best?
- Is perfectionism a good or bad thing? What's the difference between always doing your best and the concept of perfectionism?
- How does this agreement apply to the concept of ''living in the present''? How can you keep yourself from reliving past experiences and letting them affect your current actions?
- What does your best look like on a good day? What does your best look like on a not-so-good day? How do you feel about yourself on each of these days? How can this agreement help you on the not-so-good days?
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