Don’t Make Assumptions.
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
After re-visiting this quote, I’ll admit that this third of the four of Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements is definitely not my strong suit.
For someone whose passion it is to communicate, I’m really not the best of communicators. The whole ask questions and express what you really want is a lot like “asking for directions” to me.
I pride myself on reading people and situations. Honestly, I’m a great read, but, as Elisa would attest, I’m not perfect.
As a matter of fact, I followed her around all of southeast Asia marveling at how well she navigated each new territory. Her strong suit: she’s not afraid to ask. For me, I don’t know if it’s just stubbornness, or the little I-know-where-I-am! game I like to play, or what.
I am secure enough to admit, though, that I don’t really have a good excuse;)
I’ll never forget when we were in Bali and our taxi driver (whom we suspected was approximately 14) clearly had no idea where he was going. When I realized we had gone around the block at least twice, I started to get nervous, but chose instead to focus on the lovely tour. Elisa, however, began berating the boy, a whole string of demands of which I’m sure he made no sense.
I reminded her that we had already agreed upon a price, anything extra was essentially bonus. She didn’t see it quite the same. (The fact that he kept nodding off didn’t help.) So he was 14 and drunk, I couldn’t help but laugh. It was that nervous laugh though because–this is for real–for a second I thought he may be trying to confuse us; you know, before driving us to his leader where we would then be sold into some sort of human trafficking.
The increasing volume of Elisa’s commands shook me from my gloom and doom, but not from my giggles. She shot me the stare she always does that says, “You should be doing this.” Me, on the other hand, would rather just assume we’ll find our way. We’ll get there when we get there.
Homeboy finally asked another taxi for directions, which Elisa had suggested ages ago. No matter the language barrier, he knew she was pissed. She had already threatened that we weren’t paying the agreed price; one such complaint he seemed to understand loud and clear.
Turns out our hotel was just down the street, which threw me into complete stitches and further frustrated Elisa. As we got out of the taxi, Elisa began negotiating the fare. I had to remind her that he was likely young and overworked, and who knows, today could have been his first day on the job.
Not to mention, we were “home” safe, we were not, in fact, sold into slavery, and we had five more days of our Bali vacation ahead of us. How upset could we really be?
Needless to say, he got the full fair and Elisa joined me in laughing at the ridiculousness of it all not even moments later.
This agreement isn’t just about questions and expressions though. It is also about judgments.
As a waitress, as a teacher, as a woman, as a human, I’ve passed an embarrassing amount of judgement in my day. Many spot-on; fewer, yet plenty still, way off. And it is each time that I’m way off that I’m reminded how limiting passing judgement can be. How closed off to the world we become when we’re so busy making assumptions.
As for the courage to express what I really want, that’s what this year is all about, my friend. It took some magical dreaming to get clarity on what that was and everyday offers a new opportunity to express those desires.
Now that I write all this out, I’m realizing much of the work I’m doing for myself, presently, revolves around this very agreement–Elisa will be happy to know. Yet another thing I can put on the list to be cut out and pasted to my wall/mirror/fridge as a reminder to keep the personal contract.
Greater clarity is living in further alignment to your highest purpose. Authentic communication is sealing the deal. #tyomd (tweetable)
I leave you with this: Not only is Elisa awesome at asking for directions, she asks to be given opportunities. She networks well and puts herself out there. She rarely makes assumptions; she likes everything to be spelled out in black and white so there is no confusion. Essentially, she IS the third agreement.
My suggestion: rather than think … “that’s not who I am,” like I once did, try it out for a minute. The more I watch her succeed, the more I realize, if that’s what it takes, I’m willing to go there. Sans, of course, the berating of boys in taxis;)