I had a client recently who was struggling with the nasty comments that people seem to make on line these days. In spite of my client’s best efforts to do good work and help people, it sometimes went unappreciated. I was reminded of “The Paradoxical Commandments” by Kent Keith. Milton Erickson seemed to be able to embrace paradox quite readily, as anyone who has take my Ericksonian Hypnosis class will tell you. It is nice to know you can enjoy both at the same time.
Interestingly, the verses below reportedly were written on the wall of Mother Teresa’s home for children in Calcutta, India, and are widely attributed to her. Some sources say that the words below were written on the wall in Mother Teresa’s own room. In any case, their association with Mother Teresa has made them popular worldwide. They are clearly derived from “The Paradoxical Commandments” written by Kent M. Keith in 1968 as part of a booklet for student leaders.
There are published versions attributed to Mother Teresa that are different from what appears below. It does not seem to be completely verifiable what version she, in fact, had up on her wall. We do know Dr. Keith’s original version, however, and I include that below. You’ll note it is very similar to the version sited by Dr. Schuller.
In 1999, Rev. Robert Schuller published “Anyway” in his book, “Turning Hurts into Halos” (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers). He recalled that he was part of the 15-member presidential delegation that represented the United States at Mother Teresa’s funeral. When they visited Mother Teresa’s orphanage, one of the sisters said: “Dr. Schuller, look what Mother Teresa had enlarged, framed, and hung in the front lobby here.”
This is what Dr. Schuller was shown:
People are unreasonable, illogical, 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 win false friends and true enemies
…be successful anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow …do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness will make you vulnerable …be honest and frank anyway.
People love underdogs but follow only top dogs …follow some underdog anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight
People really need help but may attack you if you try to help
…help people anyway.
If you give the world the best you have, you may get kicked in the teeth …but give the world the best you have …ANYWAY.
Below is the original version written by Kent M. Keith. More information about Dr. Keith can be found at his web site: http://www.kentmkeith.com/. In his bio Dr. Keith is described as a dynamic speaker and writer whose mission is to help people find personal meaning in a crazy world.
“The Paradoxical Commandments”
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