Jan 23, 2012

Why Do It?

By Tracy Astle

You may have read these words before, but repetition of good things is a good thing. The first version posted is attributed to Mother Theresa (great woman!) and reportedly hung on the walls of her home for children in Calcutta, India. Some say they were even hung in her own room.

There's another version, by Kent Keith, that is said to be where she got her inspiration. How would you like to be known as an inspiration to Mother Theresa? I've included both versions.


Mother Teresa's version:

People are often unreasonable, irrational, 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 unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.

(I found pictures of Dr. Kent, but couldn't get them to paste here.)

Dr. Keith M. Kent's version:
He was only 19 when he wrote this!

The Paradoxical Commandments

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 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.

© 1968, 2001 Kent M. Keith

"The Paradoxical Commandments" were written by Kent M. Keith in 1968 as part of a booklet for student leaders.

Happy side note: I have a partial request from a publisher for my manuscript! As my son put it, it's like getting a callback. If they like my first 100 pages, they'll request the full. If they like that, they'll make an offer on it. If they don't like it enough to offer on it, then at least I know it was good enough to generate some interest. I'll keep you posted.

P.S. - Thanks to Lauri Egan for posting Mother Theresa's quote on the ANWA Social loop recently and reminding me of them.


  1. Congratulations on the partial request. That is totally exciting! I'd keep my fingers crossed for you, but I really need to type today. lol!

    I've read Mother Teresa's words before but didn't know who inspired her. Very cool!

  2. Thanks for the post. And congrats on the partial request!!!

  3. Wahoo! Congratulations on the request and thank you for sharing those words.

  4. Congrats on the request!. Thank you for both of these. I need to remember them.


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