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.

Dr. Kent M. Keith

The Paradoxical Commandments are a manifesto for the brave. In a world quick to judge and slow to understand, they dare us to do good anyway. They’re not about the applause at the end of the journey, but the integrity during the ride.

It’s simple: the world is messy, people are complex—but that’s your canvas. Paint with bold strokes of kindness, honesty, and big ideas. Yes, you might get knocked down. Your big project might crumble. Help someone, and they might push you away. Do it anyway.

These commandments? They’re a quiet rebellion against cynicism, a handbook for the heart-driven, for those who dare to lead with love. It’s not naive—it’s the ultimate sophistication.

In the face of adversity, in the muddle of human imperfection, there’s beauty in persisting. Because improvement isn’t about a flawless track record—it’s about striving, about moving the needle towards compassion, one paradoxical act at a time.

So, here’s the thing: Give your best, not for the standing ovation, but because it’s the best thing to do. The world might not notice. But then again, it just might.

And that’s worth the gamble.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand & Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2024 Stephen Boudreau.