The Way I See It

kirkBefore Benjamin Franklin became a famous author, inventor, scientist, musician, politician, and of course, the father of printing, he set many goals for himself to improve his character. At the age of twenty, Franklin created a list of thirteen values and virtues to which he aspired. The rest is history. Franklin went on to become one of the most successful people in all of history.

Here’s a list of the thirteen virtues which Franklin committed himself to:

  1. Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  2. Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  3. Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  4. Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  5. Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
  6. Industry. Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  7. Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
  8. Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  9. Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  10. Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.
  11. Tranquility. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  12. Chastity. Rarely use venery, but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
  13. Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

At the age of 79, Franklin wrote in his autobiography that he was unable to achieve his goal of attaining perfection. However, he did say: “Tho’ I never arrived at the perfection I had been so ambitious of obtaining but fell far short of it, yet I was, by the endeavour, a better and a happier man than I otherwise should have been if I had not attempted it.”

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