Simple yet Intriguing

              There is a sublime beauty to be found in simplicity. A few days ago, I read a short little article entitled “The Paradoxical Commandments” written by a man named Michael Josephson. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the name, Michael Josephson is the author of a very popular commentary called “CHARACTER COUNTS!”. He writes about ethical and moral issues, not necessarily from a religious standpoint, but rather from a more logical/philosophical approach.

He wrote this little article about 10 “commandments” composed by a man named Kent Keith who wrote them when he was a 19-year-old sophomore at Harvard. They are as follows:

1. People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.
2. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
3. If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
4. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
5. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
6. 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.
7. People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for underdogs anyway.
8. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
9. People who need help may attack you if you help them. Help people anyway.
10. Give the world the best you have, and you’ll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.

Now, many of you are reading these thinking, “Wow, that was really profound. This guy must be a philosophical genius!” (In case you didn’t catch it, that was sarcasm) I would have to agree that these commandments aren’t really all that complex or original in nature, but I also think there is a lot to be said for them regardless of their simplicity. These are the kind of truths that most people are already familiar with, but they are also so simple that most people never stop to think about them either. I think they are important because while they are simple commandments, they are not easy to follow. Living a life like the one described above is extremely difficult, and as a living rebuttal to the “whatever” scoundrels that plague the earth, I therefore find significance in these little truths. In fact, many of these principles resonate with our creed to embrace difficulty and break the silence, but even more than that, many of these truths have Biblical roots. Aren’t we called to love all people, including the illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered? Aren’t we called to do good even though we are often criticized for it? These are things worth giving further thought to, and I pray you do. Like I said, these are simple, even childish conclusions, but they are also beautiful and full of great worth for those who take the time to ponder their implications. For those of you who have taken the time to read this far, I apologize for the length. I couldn’t stop myself.




  1. I loved this. Thank you so much for putting those up and you are right they do make you think. Thank you again Mark. I loved it!

  2. Christ died that we might live. The greatest truth of all time is paradoxical…go figure.

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