Franklin’s 13 Virtues

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1726, at the age of 20, Benjamin Franklin created a system to develop his character. In his autobiography, Franklin listed his thirteen virtues as:

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 (sex) 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.

Seems a tall order to live up to this list every day, but then Franklin said he never did. Ben admitted that he was never able to live the virtues perfectly, but felt he had become a better and happier man for having made the attempt. It occurred to me if I pick one each day and focus on bringing more of it in my life I will benefit. I am grateful to you Mr. Franklin for the idea!

It’s about living in the moment
and appreciating the smallest things.
Surrounding yourself with the things that
inspire you and letting go of the obsessions
that want to take over your mind.
It is a daily struggle sometimes and
hard work but happiness begins
with your own attitude
and how you look at the world.
Gretchen Rubin