Guest author Linda LeBoutillier link Do It Anyway (http://mettahu.blogspot.ca/2013/04/do-it-anyway.html)

http://mettahu.blogspot.ca/2013/04/do-it-anyway.html

Do It, Anyway

Dr. Kent M. Keith and Mother Theresa

Today is Monday, April 29, 2013.

These days, quotes are bandied about the Internet with such a disregard for giving credit that it is becoming nearly impossible to tell who said what.  People just don’t check their sources.  If a friend of ours emailed a quote to us, or posted it on Facebook, and if we agree with the sentiment, we pass it along to others, usually without checking.  Of course, if we disagree, then we are sometimes motivated to check it out, if only to prove to the person who posted it how wrongheaded it is.

The Paradoxical Commandments were originally written in 1968 by Kent M. Keith, when he was a 19-year-old student at Harvard.  They were included in a book he wrote called The Silent Revolution: Dynamic Leadership in the Student Council.   Mother Theresa put some of the commandments on a wall in her Shishu Bhavan children’s home in Calcutta.  This was reported in Lucinda Vardley’s book, Mother Theresa: A Simple Path, published in 1995.  The commandments were then attributed all over the Internet to Mother Theresa.  Dr. Keith found out about this when he attended a Rotary meeting, and the “quote” from Mother Theresa was read as a prayer.  Dr. Keith was so impressed that Mother Theresa had thought enough of his words to put them up in her children’s home that he was encouraged to write his book, Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandmentswhich was published in 2002.  He went on to write several other books based on the Paradoxical Commandments, and he is often invited to speak about them.

Here are the original 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 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.

© Copyright Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001

 *** *** *** *** ***

Let’s look at each of these:

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

The first commandment speaks of unconditional love.  This is the kind of love that God showers on every single human being.  Yes… even Hitler.  This love is absolutely unconditional.  There are no conditions such as “if you are good” or “if you go to church” or even “if you believe in Jesus.”  No conditions at all.  Just because God loves us doesn’t necessarily mean that we are all capable of accepting God’s love, however.  It is those who cannot accept God’s love whom we generally think of as evil.  When we learn to see ourselves and everyone around us as Soul, we realize that we are all from the same spiritual Source.  We realize that everybody is just doing the best they can with the cards they are dealt.

Loving unconditionally does not mean that we are obligated to be friends with everyone, or invite them into our home.  It doesn’t mean that we have to agree with what they say or approve of what they do.  It simply means that we recognize them as children of God and try not to judge them.   Here, I am using the word “judge” to mean deciding that people are inherently good or evil based on their behavior.   We know that life will teach them better when they err, just as it does for us, and we recognize their right to learn and grow at their own pace.

We know that God has created the physical world as a giant feedback loop that works impartially.  When we make mistakes, we get negative feedback.  It is up to us to interpret that feedback and make changes in our own lives.  Learning by experience this way takes many lifetimes, but God is not pressed for time.  God is eternal, and so are we, as Soul.  God knows that each Soul will “get it” in the fullness of time.  If not in this lifetime, then in the next, or the next.  Those who seem to “get away with” their evil deeds will find themselves in unpleasant life circumstances, sooner or later.  Probably sooner.  Once again, if not in this lifetime, then in another life.  It’s not that our justice system can’t play the role of karmic balancer.  It can.  It’s just not up to us, personally, to judge.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

I suppose that you could consider the Law of Karma a type of “ulterior motive,” but this advice is still a no-brainer.  We know that positive consequences will come into our lives if our actions are positive.  This is not to say that we shouldn’t examine our motives carefully to see that we are, in fact, not guilty of ulterior motives.  Self-examination of this type can be hard to do.  If we have any expectation of return, then it’s true that we are doing something with ulterior motives.  We have expectations of this type more often than we realize, because they are buried deep within our subconscious.

Here’s an example.  A teacher friend of mine, who has since retired, bent over backwards to give one of her students special help, and she had worked hard to get him into a particular remedial program that she thought would be helpful to him.  She had also made efforts to see to it that his family had other forms of help, provided by a social service agency. The family abruptly left the area, which is not an uncommon thing to happen among families in poverty.  I have no idea why they left.  The father could have lost his job, or maybe they just didn’t like the social worker types nosing around. For whatever reason, they left, with no word, and no expression of thanks.  The teacher who had done so much for this child was upset, and complained to me that the student and his family were ungrateful.  At this point, I had a realization: no wonder so many teachers burn out!  Somehow, completely subconsciously, they expect some sort of recognition for their efforts – if not a fat salary and awards, at least a pat on the back once in a while and a word of thanks.  It sounds logical enough, but the fact is that if we can’t, or won’t, do the right thing without any expectation of reward, then we are not doing it with a pure heart.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

This commandment is more of a warning.  It’s true that the more successful you are, the more hangers-on you may collect.  Being spiritual doesn’t mean being a wimp.  In my opinion, the “turn the other cheek” philosophy has more to do with not complaining about being mistreated, not making ourselves into victims, rather than inviting others to mistreat us again and again.  It’s perfectly OK to stand up to people who would take advantage of us.  It’s fine to have a trusting nature, and most people we meet will not knowingly betray that trust.  But it’s also a good idea to recognize that not all Souls are mature enough to behave with honesty, grace, dignity, and integrity.  Keep a sharp lookout for those people, and find ways to avoid them, or at least avoid being beholden to them.

It’s also true that the more successful you are, the more “enemies” you may have.  This may be because people are jealous of your position, your salary, or your possessions.  It may also be because they recognize that you have some influence with certain people.  It may be that they disagree with you in matters of policy, politics, or religion.  The best thing you can do is to refuse to interact with them, unless it is required at work, or unless you are a politician who is running for office.  The less opportunity you give people to argue with you, the better.  It’s not always important – in fact, it’s almost never important – to have the last word or to make your opinions known.  People don’t generally change their opinions based on what you say, anyway, even if you are a politician.  Especially if you are a politician.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

This is another commandment about doing the right thing without expectation of reward.  What is important is to act with integrity, so that your actions match your fine thoughts and words.  It doesn’t matter if you pick up a piece of litter in a public place or leave a thousand dollars to a specific person or charity.   The important thing is that you do what you think is right, by your own lights.  You may even find out later that what you did was not necessarily the best course of action, but at least you did it with good intentions, because you believed it was the right thing to do.  What you do may end up being incredibly important in a stranger’s life or it may go totally unnoticed.  Perhaps what you do will just make this earth a nicer place to live.  Someone may appreciate it, but most will not.  What matters is that you act in God’s name, and with a pure heart.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

It’s important to be honest, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s OK to be tactless or careless of others’ feelings.  Sometimes we say things that people are just plain not ready to hear.  Discernment and tactfulness are key.  It is always better to be kind than to be absolutely right.

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.

 In the area of computer technology, the Internet, and social media, it was the big thinkers that won the day: Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, and Mark Zuckerberg, to name a few.  Not only were they big thinkers, but they were the ones who could bring their ideas to fruition.  One page on the Internet has a collection of quotes from people who did not recognize the big ideas coming down the pike.

Here are some examples, with thanks to RinkWorks Online Entertainment.

“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” — Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.

“This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.” –Western Union internal memo, 1876.

“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” — Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977.

“While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially it is an impossibility.” – Lee DeForest, inventor.

“The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?” — David Sarnoff’s associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.

“We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.” – Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962.

“Radio has no future. Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible. X-rays will prove to be a hoax.” — William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, British scientist, 1899.

“It will be years — not in my time — before a woman will become Prime Minister.” — Margaret Thatcher, 1974.

“With over 50 foreign cars already on sale here, the Japanese auto industry isn’t likely to carve out a big slice of the U.S. market.” – Business Week, August 2, 1968.

You get the drift.

Not only should we be open to big ideas even when it seems that they may never work, we also need to respect the people who actually bring those ideas to us in usable form.  As an example, when Steve Jobs invented the first Apple computer, there were other personal computers out there, mostly owned by Silicon Valley nerds.  What Jobs did was make computers accessible and usable by people who haven’t the foggiest idea how to program them, which is to say, the general public.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

My personal underdog at the moment is the clean energy movement.

The other day I was talking to someone about electric cars, and the fellow told me that the batteries that are currently available are very dangerous, and that electric cars are not suitable for long-distance travel because there aren’t many places you can go to charge them up. Also, at present, electric cars are too small and too light to be useful for carrying a lot of stuff or safe on the highway.  He’s right, of course, but what he fails to appreciate is that there will eventually be someone who will build a battery that is not dangerous, one that can go hundreds of miles before needing to be charged. People who are working with nanotechnology are already working on it.  Eventually batteries will have enough power to run cars that are large enough to carry several people and heavy enough to be safe on the highway. And the person who develops a chain of stations along the highway where people can charge up or the one who invents a portable charger will probably be trillionaires, accounting for inflation.

Other people say that electric cars will never get off the ground because of resistance from the fossil fuel industry.  It’s true that electric cars won’t be driven by the majority of us for a long time, but remember that these industries are in business to make a buck. When they see that they can make money from producing cleaner energy, they will jump on it.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

Some versions of the Paradoxical Commandments use the word “create” rather than “build.”  Same difference.

It is now thought by some that there were advanced human civilizations before recorded history, but that almost everything they built was destroyed in some sort of cataclysm.  The only things that were left were certain huge structures, such as the Pyramids of Egypt.  People are saying this because recently, engineers familiar with modern technology are studying the Pyramids.  Before, only archaeologists studied them, and what did they know about modern technology?  Nothing!  The engineers who work on modern stone buildings know how to measure building materials accurately and how to recognize the markings that are left on stone when it has been cut using machine tools.  They are saying that the stones used to build the Pyramids and other ancient structures were cut by machine, and that the ancient builders were working with technology so advanced that they were able to measure more accurately than we generally do today!   One of the reasons we can’t duplicate the Pyramids today is that we simply don’t have the requisite technology!  In other words, we’re not as advanced as whoever built the Pyramids.  We don’t know how they were built, either, because all the evidence of building – the machines they used, and some of the principles they were working with (such as anti-gravity) are long gone.  Although we still don’t understand exactly what the Pyramids were for or how they were built, we do have them to study, and we can be thankful that not everything was destroyed in the cataclysm.

Today we are seeing more and more mega-storms and extreme weather fluctuations that are destroying property and seriously disrupting lives.  We are experiencing more earthquake activity, as well.  Whole towns were washed out to sea in the tidal waves that were created by the recent massive earthquake in Japan.  And whole towns were deserted after the meltdown in the nuclear reactor in that same country.  Does that mean it was a mistake for the Japanese to build and prosper?  Of course not.   It wasn’t the things the Japanese built, or the companies they formed that led to economic prosperity in Japan; it was the actual process of working hard on the part of individuals.  A lot of people learned about discipline and attention to detail.  They learned about working in groups and making important improvements on existing products.  None of these things was a waste of time.  Spiritually speaking, these Souls gained valuable life skills and qualities that they can take with them into future lifetimes.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with helping people, but I would submit that it’s important to make sure that we are not imposing our ideas, opinions, and values on others.  It’s a good idea to get very clear about our motives for helping people.  Are we really doing it to make a positive difference in the other person’s life, or are we really just doing it to make ourselves feel better?  Are we offering only enough help to get people on the right track, or are we taking away their opportunity to learn how to solve the problem on their own?   We can always make an offer, but if our help is not appreciated, it’s OK to walk away with no hard feelings.  If people “attack” us for helping them, it’s a sure sign that they don’t really want the help, and that we are (perhaps unconsciously) imposing your will on others inappropriately.  Controlling people is not helping them.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

The true reward for a job well done should never be a reaction by someone else.  If you do things because you crave their approval or fear their disapproval, you are only giving other people power over you.  The trick is not to let people’s disapproval upset you, and not to let roadblocks keep you from your goals.  I’m not saying that this is easy.  I’m saying it’s necessary, no matter how difficult. Instead of focusing on people’s reactions to what you do, whether negative or positive, focus on what you can learn from the experience, and don’t be shy about appreciating the perseverance, dedication, discipline, and intelligence you had to manifest in order to get the job done.  Maybe you learned patience, maybe you learned how to work effectively with others by inspiring them.  Whatever it was, you have benefited.  No experience is ever wasted if you can learn something from it.

*** *** *** *** ***
There are two more lines that are often put at the end of these commandments.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.
Dr. Keith disagrees with these lines because of his Christian views, but in my opinion, this last part is absolutely true, because the whole reason we as Soul come here into physical life is to have experiences from which we can learn to manifest qualities that will make us more useful to God.  Truly, it is never about others.  It is always about us.  Everyone is working on his or her own “stuff.”  We play parts both large and small in each other’s dramas.  This is a good example of the efficiency and economy with which this physical world was created; we help each other even as we are helping ourselves, with God’s grace. :-)
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2 thoughts on “Guest author Linda LeBoutillier link Do It Anyway (http://mettahu.blogspot.ca/2013/04/do-it-anyway.html)

  1. Pingback: Guest author Linda LeBoutillier link Do It Anyway (http://mettahu.blogspot.ca/2013/04/do-it-anyway.html) | Greatpoetrymhf's Weblog

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