Give the World Your Best Anyway
A few years ago, I came across the poem you will read below. For a long time I thought the poem was written by Mother Teresa. Apparently Mother Teresa had this poem on the wall of her Missionaries of Charity community center. However, I discovered that Mother Teresa had never actually written these but they were written by Kent M. Keith who was a 19-year-old sophomore at Harvard. He had written the Paradoxical Commandments as part of a booklet for student leaders. He describes the Commandments as guidelines for finding personal meaning in the face of adversity
1. People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.
2. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
3. If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
4. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
5. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
6. 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.
7. People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
8. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
9. People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.
10. Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.*
After one reads this poem it really has a way of detoxifying bad attitudes that may emerge in our lives as we come up against difficult people and situations.
It also helps counter the world’s view of the Golden Rule which sometimes seems to be ‘do it to others before they do it to you’ rather than ‘do it to others as you would want them to do it for you.’
So, let’s go out the world and give them the world the best you have anyway.