life paradox

Do you ever feel like life doesn’t make sense?
Or that your best efforts backfire against you?
Or you want to do something, but others view it as nonsense?
The Merriam Webster dictionary describes
these situations as a paradox.

Definition of PARADOX noun \ˈper-ə-ˌdäks, ˈpa-rə-\

  1. a tenet contrary to received opinion
  2. a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is perhaps true
  3. one (as a person, situation, or action) having seemingly contradictory qualities or phases

Someone who understands paradoxes is Kent M. Keith. He wrote the following list in 1968 and has given me permission to share this classic with you. I hope you will find understanding, empathy, and encouragement in his words; I certainly did.

The Paradoxical Commandments 

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.

© Copyright Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001


Do you face any paradox in your life? What do you think of this list? 

**More information about The Paradoxical Commandments and Kent Keith’s book, The Silent Revolution: Dynamic Leadership in the Student Councilis available at

4 thoughts on “life paradox

  1. Pingback: 5 for Leadership (10/4/12) - Gary Runn

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