What’s in it for me? I have asked that question before; I imagine many of us have. We often look for the personal benefit in our lives, maneuvering ourselves into positions of gain. After all, we are capitalists. Our society functions on risk vs. reward, on pain and gain, on me-first principals.
Are these principals our best option? Paradoxical commandment number four suggests a better one:
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.
- I first encountered an adapted version of the “Paradoxical Commandments,” titled “The Final Analysis,” while listening to a Wayne Dyer audio CD in my early twenties. The meaning and message struck me as true, helping guide my thoughts and actions as I developed from a big kid into a real adult. Later, I discovered the poem was not actually written by Mother Theresa at all, but adapted, framed, and hung on the wall in her Calcutta orphanage. She cared about its message enough to use it to empower the weak and marginalized children to whom she gave her life.
The Paradoxical Commandments are reprinted with permission. © Copyright Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001