by 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.
Succeed anyway.

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.
Build anyway.

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.


Kent Keith in 1969, and in 2009

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© Copyright Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001

The Paradoxical Commandments were written by Kent M. Keith when he was 19, a sophomore at Harvard College. He wrote them as part of a book for student leaders entitled The Silent Revolution: Dynamic Leadership in the Student Council, published by Harvard Student Agencies in 1968. The Paradoxical Commandments subsequently spread all over the world, and have been used by millions of people.

Mother Teresa hung a copy of the Paradoxical Commandments on the wall of her children's home
in Calcutta. The fact that the commandments were on her wall was reported in a book compiled by Lucinda Vardey,
Mother Teresa: A Simple Path, which was published in 1995. As a result, some people have mistakenly attributed the Paradoxical Commandments to Mother Teresa.

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