New Year Ideals Include An Underdog


New Year Ideals Include An Underdog


Following the turkey and football and Cyber Monday and office parties and gift wrapping, the march to the end of the year begins. Hello 2020. And those New Year Resolutions? Oh My.

Coming up empty on a resolution? Try this one: Cheer for an underdog. It’s part of a credo developed by Kent Keith in 1968 as a 19-year old sophomore at Harvard. In his home state of Hawaii, Keith took a liking to student government and became interested in the challenges of leadership. With no ‘How To’ books to rely on, he established an institute to better prepare student leaders.

At Harvard, Keith became a popular speaker on student leadership in high schools. History suggests idealistic students and the turbulent 1960s were traveling on opposing courses. Keith stressed working through the system to impact change. Many others wanted the so-called system overthrown. Keith’s way of thinking stressed doing what is right, good, and pure. Young leaders would find their sense of meaning and satisfaction if they followed that course, according to Keith.

From all of this, Keith developed The Paradoxical Commandments. Fifty plus years later, they still have meaning. Those Commandments received a copyright, and the wording may have changed ever so slightly, but go something like this:

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

Thank you, Dr. Kent M. Keith, Ed.D.

For 2020, here’s to doing good, succeeding, honesty and frankness, thinking big, and one or more underdogs.