Do you feel discouraged when your efforts are not appreciated? Especially when you want to bring about a positive change in the world.
Well, we all may have been there at some point or the other in our lives. In fact, many go ahead and act upon their desire to bring about a shift. They then go out into the world and often get back home much too soon surprisingly. Such people return not because they want to, but because the world doesn’t seem to appreciate what they’re trying to do.
So, they end up feeling disappointed and discouraged and often give up such a thoughtful endeavor. This issue may seem trivial, but its implications may hinder the development of individuals as well as our society.
The Brainchild Behind Paradoxical Commandments
To address the above challenge, the American writer, Kent M. Keith in 1968, introduced a poem which stated the Paradoxical Commandments. This poem gave hope to all the student leaders back then, to focus on doing what’s meaningful to them. As that would eventually keep them motivated and go on with the process.
A student at Harvard College, Keith wrote these commandments at the age of 19. After two decades, he came up with a book expanding on these principles. It’s called- Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments: Finding Personal Meaning in a Crazy World.
Today, these paradoxical commandments have gained popularity all over the world and are being used by millions of people.
The Paradoxical Commandments
Paradoxical commandments are a set of guidelines that will support your
cause even though your efforts are not appreciated. It helps you act with honesty and integrity and lets you stay positive even in the face of opposition.
These are the ten paradoxical commandments, written by Kent:
Paradoxical commandment #1
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Paradoxical commandment #2
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
– Do good anyway.
Paradoxical commandment #3
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
– Succeed anyway.
Paradoxical commandment #4
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
– Do good anyway.
Paradoxical commandment #5
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
– Be honest and frank anyway.
Paradoxical commandment #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.
Paradoxical commandment #7
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
– Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
Paradoxical commandment #8
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
– Build anyway.
Paradoxical commandment #9
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
– Help people anyway.
Paradoxical commandment #10
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
– Give the world the best you have anyway.
The great idea behind this noble initiative of Paradoxical Commandments
It was the 60’s and there was a lot of chaos and conflict in the United States of America. This gave Keith the impetus to figure out something to restore peace and harmony in the world.
Many people wanted to contribute towards doing good for the society at that time. Since their efforts were not met with the respect and admiration that they expected, they felt absolutely let down. As a result, most people simply discontinued their invaluable service.
Kent recognized this pain and began working on the common goals and values that could be worked upon by anyone. He eventually devised something practical to bring about the desired change. Meanwhile, he even started to deliver speeches to address the same issue, while he was traveling.
Essentially, love for people and the world is extremely crucial if one wants to bring a change in the world. In a way, Kent propagated this philosophy.
When love is the driving force behind doing something, it gives you the necessary drive and motivation. It helps you to go on with the process and not give up until the goal is achieved.
So, he encouraged people at the leadership positions to have love and respect for the people around them. He even asked those to resign who didn’t have that capability
If you go out and do the things you feel is right, true and good, you won’t be let down. You’re going to get a lot of meaning and satisfaction from what you’ll do. So, regardless of whether you have the appreciation from people or not, you still have a fulfilling cause that’s meaningful.
In short, he wanted to share the following message with us-
“If you have the meaning, you don’t have to have the glory.”
So, this is for all those disheartened hearts out there whose souls are set on fire to revolutionize the world. Don’t lose hope when your efforts are not recognized or rewarded. The intention behind this work is so phenomenal that you don’t need any award or appreciation from the outside.
You are already rewarded by the meaning and satisfaction that you are getting from doing those things. That would be enough to sustain and keep you going no matter what happens.
This is what Kent realized in his life and wants us to realize the same by his brilliant paradoxical commandments.
Ira Singh is an unconventional writer, dreamer and a perpetual learner who loves to play with words and push the envelope. She started her career as a recruitment professional but due to her deep fondness for writing, she switched into content writing. With 4 years of experience in professional writing, she’s inclined towards writing on Psychology and medical-related content. She creates content for blogs, articles, copy for websites, social media posts and much more. A blend of her humble writing experience along with her newfound endeavor to inspire people with her work is what’s on her table now.