Sunday, June 30, 2013

Paradoxical Commandment #8
Have you ever built a sandcastle, only to watch it disintegrate beneath the power of the ocean?  Did it stop you?  Probably not.  The most innovative children work around the problem, digging ditches, moats, and levies to disburse the water’s power outside of the central castle area.  The more elaborate the defenses, the longer the castle stands.  No matter what, come morning, only the clean face of the beach remains, unblemished by even the most sophisticated architecture.  If only we can capture the youthful belief in the permanence of our structures.  Thus, Dr. Kent’s eighth Paradoxical Commandment:

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.  Build anyway. recently completed One World Trade Center, or Freedom Tower, in New York City stands as a tribute to this commandment.  Positioned on the sixteen acre World Trade Center site, the Western Hemisphere’s tallest building’s footprint stands where Six World Trade Center used to.  In true American spirit, the new tower surpasses the height of the two fallen towers by more than 400 feet at a symbolic 1776 feet tall.

Our own personal efforts will always come under attack.  At some point, someone will take aim.  We should never let the fear of this rule our lives.  Instead, we should feel encouraged to build as strong as we can.  In the event Dr. Kent’s commandment comes true and our efforts are torn down, build again.
Henry Ford filed for bankruptcy twice before finally founding the Ford Motor Company.  R. H. Macy failed seven different times before founding Macy’s.  Harland David Sanders’ secret recipe was rejected 1,009 times before finally being accepted by a restaurant.  Now, we know him as the found of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

The building process is never easy.  Many times, we rebuild ourselves and our futures on top of the rubble left over from our past.  Never stop.  Build your success one step at a time.  Craft your future as you go.  Eventually, you will find your head scraping the heavens.  

- 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

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