Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Benjamin Franklin's 13 Virtues

I found these in a self-help book, of all places (and no, I don't normally read self-help books, I was just skimming through this one at the library). I laughed out loud at some of them. Altogether it is great advice. The story goes that originally the list had 12 virtues. Through a system of graphs and daily self-appraisal, Franklin claimed to have (mostly) achieved the desired virtues, having only some difficulty with Order. Realizing he was too proud at having lived up to his own standards, he added a thirteenth virtue: Humility.

Here's Franklin's list, in his own words, with my comments in brackets.

1. Temperance. Eat not to Dullness. Drink not to Elevation.
2. Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself. Avoid trifling conversation. [Love this].
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. [Well put].
5. Frugality. Make no Expense but to do good to others or yourself; that is, Waste nothing.
6. Industry. Lose no Time. Be always employed in something useful. Cut off all unnecessary actions. [I like this too].
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 Uncleanness in Body, Clothes or Habitation. [Nice].
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 [HA HA HA!].
13. Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates. [I was thinking, "What...? Jesus and.... Socrates?" Well, at least Jesus comes first!!]

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