Do Good Anyway

December 5, 2016



Written By: Danny

By Dan Maier

During this holiday season, I wanted to share an inspiring story that speaks to the heart of leadership.

At the age of 19, a friend of mine was a sophomore at Harvard and made a long-forgotten speech to his classmates.  As life went on, he soon forgot about that day until he heard about a poem attributed to Mother Theresa called “Anyway” – the poem was tacked to the wall behind her in her office in India. The words were the very same words he had spoken decades before. Not the Ten Commandments, but the Paradoxical Commandments of Leadership… written by Kent Keith in 1968.

They start: “People are illogical, unreasonable and self-centered. Love them anyway.”

Kent Keith has since written a book about that speech and the commandments he penned during the turbulent times of the late-1960s called Anyway.

With acknowledgement to my friend Kent, here are those paradoxical commandments of leadership:

The Paradoxical Commandments

by Dr. Kent M. Keith

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


Have a great holiday season and remember…

Fundraising can be a challenge
and it may be difficult to achieve your goal.
Fundraise anyway!

PS:  the book could make a great gift for your staff or volunteers!

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3 responses to “Do Good Anyway”

  1. Norris Lineweaver says:

    The very nature of the performing enterprise of the local YMCA is a “do it and fix it” culture. It is an unrelenting bias for action. This is why I believe Kent Ketih’s work is so aligned with our principles and practices. It helps that once upon a time he served as the chief development officer for the YMCA of Hawaii. For awhile he was here in Indianapolis as CEO for Greenleaf Servant Leadership. He did a great job. In his second edition of Anyway, I was privileged to have one of my stories published that illustrated one of his commandments in action. His work should be on every local YMCA director’s reading list.

  2. John C. Alexander says:

    Danny, I heard Kent at one of the last John 17:21 conferences, in Indy, and bought his autographed book. It has been misplaced with a couple of moves, but your post reminds me to locate it. As Norris encourages, it should be a part of every Y leader’s library. thanks for the inspiration.