Famous Life Poem

The Paradoxical Commandments By Kent M. Keith

This selection, entitled, "The Paradoxical Commandments", was written by Kent M. Keith in 1968 when he was a 19 year old Harvard Student. Since then, it has been quoted by millions and even mistakenly attributed to Mother Teresa who had a version hung as a poem on a wall in her Children's Home in Calcutta. The text contains 10 commandments. The theme and the paradox is to persevere in doing good for humanity and acting with integrity even if your efforts aren't appreciated.

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This poem is so true to me. No matter what happens or how good you are there will be jealousy every where you go! But I have to keep moving!

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The Paradoxical Commandments

By Kent M. Keith more 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.

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  • Stories 4
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  • Favorited 19
  • Votes 438
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  • Poem of the week
Has this poem touched you? Share your story!
  • by Tamara Neal
  • 8 months ago

This poem is so true to me. No matter what happens or how good you are there will be jealousy every where you go! But I have to keep moving!

  • by Anne Turner
  • 8 months ago

This is very moving It says to me be yourself just as long we ain't hurting others doing so. Because we can't please all the people all the time.

  • by Jo A. Sparkes
  • 8 months ago

This poem is beautiful, and the reader will identify with it, and it will interest them, as it does me-- and after all, ' the first duty of art is to interest, nothing else will compensate for the lack of this ' - Taken from Hamlet.

I love the poem, which is very well known of course! Thank you so much for sending it to me.

  • by Brenda Mage, Philippines
  • 9 months ago

Such an inspiring poem. Thank you for sharing your poem.

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