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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Do it anyway

There's a great little box by Kent M. Keith, entitled, "Do it anyway." It's a self-described handbook for finding personal meaning and deep happiness in a crazy world.

Excellent stuff.

The book contains 10 paradoxes of life. What is a paradox? A paradox is something that seems contradictory or against common sense, but turns out to be true.

It talks about the principle (which Jesus also teaches) that personal meaning and deep happiness don't depend on the external factors that you can't control. They depend on your inner life, the part of your life that you CAN control. He writes, "the Paradoxical Commandments are bout loving people, helping people, and doing what is right and good and true. That's where you can find personal meaning and deep happiness, even when the world around you is difficult."

Here are the paradoxical commandments with an actions checklist:

1. People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.

Action step: Which illogical, unreasonable or self-centered people am I going to love anyway?

2. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.

Action step: What good things am I going to do, even though people will accuse me of selfish ulterior motives?

3. If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.

Action step: In what ways am I going to be successful, even though I know I will win false friends and true enemies?

4. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.

Action step: What good things am I committed to doing, even though they will be forgotten tomorrow?

5. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.

Action step: With whom, and about what, am I going to be honest, even though it will make me vulnerable?

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.

Action step: What big idea am I going to pursue, even though it will be shot down by small men and women?

7. People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

Actions step: Which underdogs am I going to fight for?

8. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.

Action step: What am I going to build, even though it may be destroyed overnight?

9. People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.

Action step: Who am I going to help, even though they may attack me?

10. Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.

Action step: Am I committed to always giving the world my best, even if I get kicked in the teeth?

1 comment:

Jon said...

The one that hits closest to home for me is #5. Every time I get a new boss, I have the same conversation with the person taking the job. I explain that I am a Christian, that I tend to be forthright and honest at all times, and that I speak my mind when I feel that my input can be helpful. Being in the military, I gave up my right to free speech (trust me, the military is not interested in your opinion if you are a member of the unit) for too long not to exercise it now. I also let them know that, if they do not want that type of person in my current job, we can work together to find somewhere else for me to be so they can put someone else in the job. Invariably, they choose to leave me in place and reinforce that my behavior is what they are looking least they have so far.

The other day, however, I was told that some of my peers (other mid-level managers) did not like the way that I talked to them on some issues. My forthright and honest discussion left some of them with bruised egos. I was asked to reevaluate my discussion habits and to infuse some delicacy into those program area discussions that fall within my purview. In other words, stop being so forthright and honest with people when they choose not to do what policy/procedure/regulation tell them to do. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely am a stickler for being polite to people until you have to do otherwise...I've found that is the way to achieve compliance at the lowest level of interaction. But, in the evidence of noncompliance, I move from asking to telling to, ultimately, making people do what they need to do.

So, what does all that mean? My ego was intentions were misunderstood and my self worth was questioned. I am who I am by the grace of God and the experiences that He has helped me through...He has molded me to be the man that He wants me to be. That man is forthright and honest. And that is the decision that I reached over the course of a couple of days of soul searching and introspection. I would stay God's the best of my ability...and it may cost me career-wise as there is a promotion being dangled with that admonition. But I choose to follow God, every day, and not compromise myself for position or money...for He is the rock upon which I rest my house.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest...the other nine are good to do as well. In all things, we should follow Jesus' example and people, do good works, trust in God and His plan for our life, do not lie or cheat or steal, be honest in all dealings, dream big and ask big, help even the least of these our brothers, build on the rock, be generous and helpful for its' own sake, and last but not least, do your best and turn the other cheek while you spit out your teeth!

Follow God and prosper!