At a Rotary Club meeting in 1997, a member stood up and declared that he would like to honor the recently deceased Mother Teresa by reading a poem she had written called Anyway.
Fellow Rotarian Kent Keith bowed his head in contemplation, and was astonished when he recognized the poem as a version of The Paradoxical Commandments, which he himself had authored back in 1968 at the age of nineteen in a book for student leaders. As Keith himself writes:
“I went up after the meeting and asked him where he got the poem. He said it was in a book about Mother Teresa, but he couldn’t remember the title. So the next night I went to a bookstore and started looking through the shelf of books about the life and works of Mother Teresa. I found it, on the last page before the appendices in Mother Teresa: A Simple Path. The Paradoxical Commandments had been reformatted to look like a poem, and they had been retitled “Anyway.” There was no author listed, but at the bottom of the page, it said: “From a sign on the wall of Shishu Bhavan, the children’s home in Calcutta.”
Mother Teresa thought that the Paradoxical Commandments were important enough to put up on the wall of her children’s home. That really hit me. I wanted to laugh, and cry, and shout–and I was getting chills up and down my spine. Perhaps it hit me hard because I had a lot of respect for Mother Teresa, and perhaps because I knew something about children’s homes. Whatever the reason, it had a huge impact on me. That was when I decided to speak and write about the Paradoxical Commandments again, thirty years after I first wrote them.
Indeed, Kent has become a sought-after speaker all over the globe. His presentations and seminars are focused on servant leadership and finding personal meaning at home and at work. In 2002, his inspiring book, Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments, became a national bestseller. His masterpiece, both in its original form and the version favored by Mother Teresa, have appeared in everything from a Superman book to a Martina McBride hit song (see the above video) to books by Wayne Dyer and Stephen Covey. (Ironically, that same book by Dyer was directly impacted by the story he contributed to my book, Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything.)
Click here for more details on how Keith’s Paradoxical Commandments have been misattributed.
Personally, I prefer the version of the Paradoxical Commandments often misattributed to Mother Teresa. It never fails to inspire me:
People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;
. . . Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
. . . Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
. . . Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
. . . Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
. . . Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
. . . Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
. . . Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
. . . Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.
Click here for links to all the music videos on this blog.
ABOUT PHIL BOLSTA
Phil is the author of Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World, a comprehensive guide to living a spiritual life. Who will benefit from reading it?
Anyone who is on a spiritual path, or wants to start one
Anyone who loves life, or wants to learn how to
Anyone who is happy, or wants to be happier
Here is a two-minute video introduction to Through God’s Eyes.
• an overview of the book
• the complete table of contents
• the Foreword by Caroline Myss
• my Introduction
• chapter excerpts
• a sample end-of-chapter story
• endorsements from authors and thought leaders
Just click on the link below to download your free PDF sampler!
THROUGH GOD’S EYES PDF SAMPLER
Schedule a Mastery Mentoring phone session with Phil to learn how to apply principles of spiritual living more effortlessly and effectively. Priced affordably! Click here to e-mail Phil for details.
Phil is also the author of Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, a collection of 45 inspiring, life-changing stories from prominent people he interviewed, including Joan Borysenko, Deepak Chopra, geneticist Dr. Francis Collins, acclaimed sportswriter Frank Deford, Dr. Larry Dossey, Wayne Dyer, Dan Millman, Caroline Myss, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, Dr. Bernie Siegel, James Van Praagh, singer Billy Vera, Doreen Virtue, Neale Donald Walsch, and bassist Victor Wooten.
Reading this book is like spending a few minutes face to face with each of the contributors and listening to their personal stories. Click here to read unsolicited testimonials from readers. Learn more by visiting the official Sixty Seconds website.
Sixty Seconds was one of three finalists in the General Interest/How-To category at the 12th annual Visionary Awards presented by COVR (Coalition of Visionary Resources) in Denver on June 27, 2009.
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