I always enjoy it when the “real” truth appears. Actually I really like Parker Palmer’s definition: “Truth is an eternal conversation about things that matter, conducted with passion and discipline.” Interestingly, I remember it as an ongoing conversation. That’s how it happens.
My friend Beverly informs me that Mother Teresa did not write the quote attributed to her. She referred me to the Quote Investigator. Actually, the first time I saw the quote in Umbrella’s office, it did not have the last line about God, and it didn’t give any attribution. Given my difficulty with “God,” I prefer the version without. In fact “do good anyway” is more powerful when you don’t believe in a god who will reward you.
As a scientist, I learned that what is seen as scientific truth right now, is only the most recent version. At any moment, assumptions may change, changing what you accept as “data,” or new data may be found changing what we accept as truth. I can see that this is true for my life as well.
Here is the original statement:
The quote is called “The Paradoxical Commandments” and it was
actually written by Kent M. Keith.
Lack of praise or recognition is often a result of using the Silent Revolution. It is comparatively easy to bear; it is a simple kind of self-denial which allows the achievement of greater meaning and satisfaction. Other situations are less easy. Being attacked and mistreated by the people you are trying to help, for example, is a possibility much harder to stomach than a mere lack of recognition. It hurts in particular when you really care for the people who are attacking you: if you didn’t care, you could shrug it off with indifference. And yet, a deep concern for people makes it possible to understand that attack with compassion, and to keep helping. This kind of paradoxical situation can occur often. Indeed, we might list some “Paradoxical Commandments of Leadership:”
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.
You’ll find that there is no such thing as going through a Silent Revolution just for fun. It’s seldom fun. It’s tiring, ridiculously nerve-wracking, demoralizing, and seemingly impossible. You’ve got to be deeply committed to people – all of them, not just the ones who are nice to you – in order to go through with it. If you’re in it for other people, you may not always succeed, but you can be happy in the knowledge that you are doing things which are as meaningful as possible – for both you and the people you’re helping. You’re working at full potential, so there can be no regrets. You’re doing the most you can, as best you can.