Your Best Life: Ancient Toltec Wisdom for Resilience

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In his celebrated work, The Four Agreements [7], authors Don Miguel Ángel Ruiz and Janet Mills masterfully communicate the powerful wisdom and venerated spiritual truths of ancient Toltec civilization and culture, which gained popularity in central Mexico between the 10th and mid-12th centuries CE [2]. These truths are encapsulated into four moral imperatives necessary for the attainment of inner peace. The adherence of four “agreements,” or promises one makes with oneself, can help an individual live a fulfilled, tranquil, and peaceful life.
My wife recommended The Four Agreements at a time when I needed to change my perspective on life; my “well was dry” from trying to be all things to all people. After reading this timeless work, I recognized that my life had strayed from the book's core principles.
Unfortunately, I know of many colleagues struggling to cope with similar feelings. In fact, more and more US physicians are experiencing burnout [8], and maintaining a resilient disposition in the workplace is a growing challenge for surgeons.
While we must accept that there are circumstances we cannot change, we do have the power to determine how we respond to whatever life presents us. How physicians respond to an event, and the manner in which we choose to see our world once the event passes, is the key to our overall wellness and happiness. The Four Agreements offers a template to keep one's life in alignment with enduring and timeless principles that foster deep and enduring inner peace. Let's take a look at each one.
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