The Paradoxical Commandments

Dr. Kent M. Keith

Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001


  • 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 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 them anyway.
  • Give the world the best you have and you will get kicked in the teeth.
       Give the best you have anyway.


"The Paradoxical Commandments," were written when Dr. Keith was 19,
a sophomore at Harvard College.
The Paradoxical Commandments are guidelines
for finding personal meaning in the face of adversity.
For more information click here.

Used with permission.
download as a PDF