Salaam and Greetings of Peace:
“People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway. What you spend years building, someone can destroy overnight; build anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, there may be jealousy; be happy anyway. The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; give the world the best you’ve got anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway.”
These ten timeless principles were first articulated by the author when he was a student at Harvard in the nineteen sixties. Since then, they’ve traveled around the world and back again — usually with no attribution at all. They’ve been cited as an anonymous poem on more than eighty websites; appropriated as song lyrics; quoted in books and by business leaders; circulated by organizations from the Boy Scouts to the Special Olympics; and tacked to the wall of Mother Teresa’s children’s home in Calcutta. It is often attributed to her.
It was upon learning about this last appearance that Kent Keith was moved to put his commandments, the philosophy behind them, and the stories that bring them to life into this modern credo for living well, being happy, and doing good anyway.