Benjamin Franklin

Inspired by Big Ben

I’m presently taking a wonderful online personal development course called Lifebook. In it, the facilitator, Jon Butcher, brought up Benjamin Franklin’s Thirteen Virtues, a list of ideals and habits that Franklin mapped out for himself in 1726 when he was 20 years old. A sort of code to live by.

I was so surprised that I never heard of this as I’m a big history buff. After reading them, it makes sense how Franklin achieved so much in his prolific life. The list for me is VERY inspirational and timeless. Much of it I already adhere to but it’s still great to get a reminder. I feel Franklin’s Virtues are very universal so I want to share them here. A little bit of personal commentary is also included…

1. Temperance.
Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.

Yup! If you want to have a happy and fulfilling life, you need to be healthy and that starts with what you put in your body.

2. Silence.
Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.

This is something I’m getting better at but often I do fall in the trap of feeling insecure about feeling the need to fill conversation with my voice rather than allowing people to speak first and listening carefully to what they have to say.

3. Order.
Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.

Love this one as I love being organized!

4. Resolution.
Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.

Life is too short. We’re here not to waste time and only do what we have passion for. So do what you say you’ll do!!

5. Frugality.
Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.

I like the balanced thinking to this idea about handling one’s money.

6. Industry.
Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.

Love this as I feed off organizing my day and not wasting time with stuff that’s not important.

7. Sincerity.
Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

Nice tips on how to treat people with respect, and even how to treat yourself with respect.

8. Justice.
Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

For me, this is so relevant to our modern-day battle with climate change. Our actions have impact so we need to be conscious of not harming others through them.

9. Moderation.
Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.

Again…climate change? Ya, I’m talking to you, person who drives an Escalade and lives in a 3000sq ft. McMansion!

10. Cleanliness.
Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloths, or habitation.

Yup! Who wants to be filthy?? Habits. Habits. Habits.

11. Tranquillity.
Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.

Meditation helps!

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.

Slight beef with this one as I strongly feel sex should be enjoyed in a physical, spiritual and emotional way. But I do see where he’s going with this in that frivolous sleeping around is not a wise life habit. Definitely could sense ole’ Ben was not loosey-goosey in the sack:)!

13. Humility.
Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

I’m not religious but Jesus is still a great example of who to model a life after. Socrates is also important because it’s all about questioning things in life to spark creativity and enlightenment.

Great job and thank you, Mr. Franklin!


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