The Paradoxical Commandments – Kent M. Keith
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.
© Copyright Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001
I originally came across the Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments in preparing for a lesson plan for The Family Program, it had been attributed to Mother Teresa. Digging a bit deeper I found that it was authored by Kent M. Keith as part of a booklet for leadership, Mother Teresa had seen it and had it hanging on the wall in her office in Calcutta.
I think that this is such a great basis for us to use as we go through our daily lives, as we work toward integrity in all things. So often, because we are only human, we allow the actions or reactions of others to affect our behavior and decisions. Once we start on that slippery slope of being many things to many people we lose our sense of self and most importantly we stray from being people of integrity.
As we go along our journey we need to constantly work to make sure we have a clear sense of right and wrong, a clear sense of respect for self and others, and a clear sense of the message our words and actions convey. Not because we are trying to make a good impression, not because we want to get ahead or get a deal done, not because we want to be popular but because it is the right thing for us to do.
Once you start to lead a life based on your beliefs, principles and ideals it truly does become easier. When you are who you are at all times you are never trying to remember who you said what to, you never live in fear of being found out. Don’t make the mistake of thinking any of this will make you popular – the harder you try to live by your own set of ideals the more others will try to tear you down. Because they act with the intent of quid pro quo, they assume you do as well. Because they create situations to put themselves in a good light , they assume you do as well. Because they see you work hard to put your best self out there at all times they assume it is an act because the thought of working that hard to be your best for the sheer reward of knowing you are your best is beyond them.
Despite any obstacles – be your best self anyway. Set goals and work hard to reach them, aspire for things that might be beyond your reach right now so that you have dreams to work toward. Your “doing it anyway” isn’t to impress others – it’s to allow you to put your head on the pillow at night knowing who you are, that you did your best and that indeed you do have a plan for tomorrow!