Boston, Resilience and the Paradoxical Commandments

Yesterday a colleague asked, "Did you hear about the bombings in Boston?"  I had not.  I don’t watch the news very often.  I have renamed the news "The Bad News" because 90% of the news talks about 1% of the good and 99% of bad things that happen in the world.  I was afraid it was skewing my view of the world to be exposed to so much bad news.

Some people might interpret it as a lack of empathy. Unfortunately, it is just the opposite.  It is so painful for me to see this stuff, that as an act of self-care to protect myself, I purposefully limit my viewing.

I choose not to watch the news arbitrarily.  I prefer to filter and select what I ingest with my eyes and ears.  Just like you feel better when you ingest fresh foods, you also feel better when you ingest good news with your eyes and ears.

One of my frameworks is what you focus on grows.  Instead of focusing on what I don’twant, I try to focus on what I DO want.  I want to focus on being a force for good in the world.  I want the world to be a great and inspiring place.  So, while my heart goes out to the people of Boston, I will not focus on what happened.  I will focus on what is possible. I will focus on their resilience.

When horrible things happen, to lift myself out of the fear and the grief, I like to read The Paradoxical Commandments written by Kent M. Keith.  It inspires me each time I read it.  These ten principles were first written by Kent Keith as a student at Harvard in the 1960s.  I have seen them mis-attributed to other people (even Mother Theresa),  although I am sure she was inspired by them!

The Paradoxical Commandments
From the book Anyway – The Paradoxical Commandments: Finding Personal Meaning in a Crazy World by Kent M. Keith

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 will 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.

These principles alone are inspiring, and his book goes into them in more depth.  For me, they describe ways in which people who demonstrate resilience think. states that resilience is:

1. the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity.

2. ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.

Boston, my heart goes out to you.  I know you are resilient.  You hold a great event that inspires thousands of people to want to be a part of it. Yes, a horrible thing happened, and it is possible that it could happen again.  But I know it won’t stop you from continuing to  hold the great Boston Marathon again anyway. What’s possible now is to show the world your

and your community.

Our hearts are with you.


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