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Anyway - The Paradoxical Commandments for Christians

Sightings of the Paradoxical Commandments

The Paradoxical Commandments were written by Kent M. Keith and published in 1968 in his booklet for student leaders titled The Silent Revolution: Dynamic Leadership in the Student Council. The Paradoxical Commandments immediately began circulating among student leaders and later the general public in the United States and overseas.

As the Paradoxical Commandments were shared, those who shared them occasionally changed a few words or changed the title and format. One version is known as the "Ten Commandments of Leadership." The version that Mother Teresa put up on the wall of her children's home in Calcutta was titled "Anyway" and consisted of eight of the original ten Paradoxical Commandments, reformatted as a poem. Another version of the Paradoxical Commandments often attributed to Mother Teresa, but noticeably different from the version on her wall, is "The Final Analysis."

The Paradoxical Commandments have been published in church bulletins, posted on church websites, and preached from pulpits. Christian authors have also included the commandments in their books. Here is a short list of sightings:

Books, Speeches, Miscellaneous

In Mother Teresa: A Simple Path, compiled by Lucinda Vardey (1995), page 185. Eight of the original ten Paradoxical Commandments were reformatted as a poem titled "Anyway." Vardey reported that it was "a sign on the wall of Shishu Bhavan, the children's home in Calcutta."

In The 8th Habit, by Stephen R. Covey (2004), p. 80. Covey used the "Final Analysis" version of the Paradoxical Commandments, and attributed the commandments to Mother Teresa.

In Becoming a Person of Influence, by John C. Maxwell (1997), p. 107. Maxwell correctly footnoted the source of the Paradoxical Commandments as Kent M. Keith, The Silent Revolution: Dynamic Leadership in the Student Council (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard Student Agencies) 1968.

In Turning Hurts into Halos, by Rev. Robert H. Schuller (1999), pages 1-2. Rev. Schuller described how he saw "Anyway" [The Paradoxical Commandments] framed and hung in the front lobby when he visited Mother Teresa's orphanage as a member of the delegation that represented the United States at Mother Teresa's funeral.

In The Seven Secrets, by John Hagee (2004), page 82. Hagee included eight of the original ten Paradoxical Commandments. He challenged his readers to live by these "do-it-anyway" decisions, and never give up.

In Keeping Spiritual Balance as We Grow Older, by Molly Srode and Bernie Srode (2005), pp. 66-67. The Srodes included the Paradoxical Commandments in a chapter about understanding what the right to choose is all about.

In In Search of the Good: A Catholic Understanding of Moral Living, published by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (2004), p. 207. The Paradoxical Commandments are part of the chapter entitled "Free to be fully alive."

In Stomping Out Fear, by Neil T. Anderson, Dave Park, and Rich Miller (2003), pages 103-104. Attributed to Kent M. Keith.

In There's a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem, by Wayne W. Dyer (2001), pages 106-110. Dyer used "The Final Analysis" version of the Paradoxical Commandments, attributing them to Mother Teresa, and describing them as "An Eight-Point Plan of Decontamination." After learning of the authorship of the Paradoxical Commandments, Dyer revised his book so that new printings of his book attribute the Paradoxical Commandments to Kent M. Keith.

In Chapter 7 of Pastor Wayne Cordeiro's book, Attitudes that Attract Success (2001).

In Chapter 7 of The Rhythm of Life by Matthew Kelly, pages 250-251 (2000). Kelly asked his readers to "travel in your mind to a small orphanage in Calcutta, and on a wall there you will find these words" He used the "Anyway" version of the Paradoxical Commandments, formatted as a poem.

In Neil T. Anderson's book, Victory Over the Darkness, second edition (2000), pages 213-214. A footnote says "source and author unknown."

Translated into Japanese and used in homilies by a Japanese Catholic priest in Tokyo, Japan (2000).

Titled "Words to Think About" and attributed to Karl Menninger in the preface of the 1997 Annual Report of the KEY Project in Hawaii (Windward Oahu).

In the 1995 Baccalaureate Address of Dr. E. LeBron Fairbanks, President of Mount Vernon Nazarene College.

In a handout of inspirational saying distributed to her graduate students by Dr. Fran Newman, a faculty member at the University of Southern California (1994).

In the Texas WIC News, published by the Texas Department of Health (1993).

In a handbook of poems and readings distributed at the Oklahoma Girls State program (1991).

In an Ann Landers column, attributed to E. T. Gurney, the Executive Director of the Canadian Hemophilia Society.


Featured in the "Reader's Corner" of "The Family" website

On the website of the Miracles Circle of Pittsburgh.

Featured on "beliefnet," an international spiritual website

Included as the "Ten Commandments of Leadership" in a website for Boy Scouts in Canada. The sighting is an excerpt from a speech given by Eddie Snow in which he attributed the Paradoxical Commandments to St. Edward wrestling coach Howard Ferguson.

On a church website that described them as "Ten true paradoxes of true Godly leadership. A must read for leaders in the church."

Listed under "inspiration" on the Empowering Caregivers website

Included in the Community of Christ website