At 43, Tom Brady has achieved massive success both on the football field and off. On Sunday, Brady won his seventh Super Bowl and earned his fifth Super Bowl MVP title (a league record for both) after his Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs.
Brady revealed that along the way — particularly in hard times — he has turned to a 1997 self-help book called "The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom" for guidance.
The book, written by spiritual teacher don Miguel Ruiz, is based on ancient Toltec wisdom, teachings from central Mexico a thousand years ago. The teachings advocate freedom from self-limiting beliefs that cause suffering and hold you back. The book has sold over 8.5 million copies in the U.S. and has been translated into 46 language worldwide, according to its website.
The book's four "agreements" (which the author refers to as powerful codes of conduct) are: 1) Be impeccable with your word; 2) don't take anything personally; 3) don't make assumptions; and 4) always do your best.
Brady first discovered the book in about 2006, he previously told New England sports radio station WEEI.
It's "kind of a mantra for my life," he told WEEI, pointing in particular to one of the principles, "don't take things personally."
Brady told WEEI that he relied on the book while he was embroiled in "Deflategate." Brady was accused of being involved in the deliberate deflation of footballs during the 2014 AFC Championship and served a four game suspension in 2016. But Brady and the Patriots have denied nearly every aspect of the NFL's allegations and tried to appeal the ruling in federal court. Brady later told Oprah Winfrey that he took the suspension because he realized he "couldn't win" the legal battle.
The book's principles were "very relevant" to Brady during that time, he said, and he reads it "once a year to reflect and gain a little perspective."
In 2008, Brady also referenced the book in an Esquire interview calling it a "very spiritual book. You read it and you just go, Goddamn."
"You know, how can I be more honest, accept things that don't go as planned? When you try to combat everything, at the end of the day you realize that you're responsible for yourself," Brady told Esquire.