The Paradoxical Commandments by Kent M Keith

Whenever I have read “The Paradoxical Commandments“, which is both a book (buy the book from Flipkart or Amazon) and a poem by Kent M Keith, it has left me inspired by the simplicity in the words and the deep message they hold. It says that the world is crazy, the people are crazy and we should not try to make sense of it. The more we try to make sense of it, the more we will get lost in it. But the point is also not to lose hope, not to complain but to accept (not tolerate) the world as it is. Only then can we be truly free.

He says the life’s lessons lies in its many paradoxes. A “paradox” is an idea that is contrary to popular opinion, something that seems to contradict common sense and yet is true. This book is about the Ten Paradoxical Commandments which I am listing below.

  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.

These paradoxical statements say that you can do good and what is right without waiting for other people to return the favor, or appreciate you in any way. If you can do this, then you are free. Free to find the meanings in the smallest of things. Free to do what you want irrespective of what others think or how the world will perceive it. The people who have done this have been able to find happiness unlike anything in this world.

P.S. – See a list of all my favorite books here..