Do it Anyway – The Paradoxical Commandments

It would make more sense if I began with the book Anyway by Kent M. Keith. I know this. The trouble is, I don’t have that book, I have this one. And so, we’ll have to do!

Allow me to introduce you to Do It Anyway by Kent M. Keith.

The thing is… I can’t just jump into this book without telling you about the Paradoxical Commandments because everything stems from them:

  • 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 with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men 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.

Added note about The Commandments: There is a Mother Theresa connection, which you can read about HERE.

Ahem. Anyway. <– Ha! I used a word in the title!

I certainly do not want to be confusing about this and jump back and forth between books. In fact, there is no need to…

In the introduction to Do It Anyway, Keith says he’s written this book as a handbook for living the commandments he first wrote about in Anyway (the 1st).

I’ll be honest… both books could stand alone. Or together… if you are a purist about such things.

I’m keeping this book in my collection – without the other one – because I don’t need one to understand the other. You won’t either.

But enough about the two of them… let’s talk about THIS book!

It’s a nice, little, gift-sized book about “finding personal meaning and deep happiness in a crazy world”.

If you turn to the inside page, you’ll find the commandments. If you read ONLY THAT you’ll have enough wisdom to make a difference in your life -and in the lives of others. In fact, many people have! I know I’ve heard the commandments in my travels…

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.

Love them anyway.

… without realizing there was a book and/or movement about them. Haven’t you?

Still, reading the rest of the book fills in some gaps and tells some stories.

One that I recall is about a boy – a teenager? – who hadn’t done his homework and when his mother came to him about it he yelled, “Shut up, you stupid old bitch.”

Instead of being blinded by rage, shock or hurt – which, let’s face it, many of us would be – she heard her heart whisper “love him anyway” and hugged him. They “hugged it out” so to speak. He felt “heard” but it doesn’t end there. Mom had to impose a consequence for his inappropriate actions (both the homework and the name-calling). Win/Win.

Oh, that is were that easy, eh?

Could I have done this with my pre (or older) teens? Not a chance. My daughters… maybe? My autistic son? No way. Just being honest.

And that brings to mind another topic that fits nicely here. Boundaries.

While The Commandments are absolutely wonderful… they do have the potential to put vulnerable, people-pleasing folks in a quandary… as well as the recipients (for example, my daughters might welcome a hug, my son, not so much).

For my part, I have a tendency toward people-pleasing to my detriment. I know a lot of you feel the same way. So, with this book, I offer a caveat:

Yes, love them, do good, be honest, think big, help people and give the world the best you have anyway… but not if it crosses others’ boundaries or compromises your integrity, values or worth. <— It may seem like this is a no-brainer but in fact, I’ve found myself depleted and at the bottom of the well after giving too much of myself.

3 comments

  1. I’ve struggled with the truth of “No good deed goes unpunished” for years. Been turned on, stung and betrayed by those I’ve gone out of my way to help, again and again.. Your post is good food for thought!

    Liked by 1 person

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