In his autobiography, Franklin lists the thirteen virtues that he sought to improve constantly in his life. Each week he would focus on improving in one of these thirteen areas. He also sought to maintain the progress he had made in the others. By concentrating on one of the thirteen each week and working his way through the thirteen systematically, he could focus on each virtue four times a year. Here are the virtues he listed:
Benjamin Franklin’s Thirteen Virtues
- Temperance: Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
- Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
- Order: Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
- Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
- Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
- Industry: Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
- Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
- Justice: Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
- Moderation: Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
- Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.
- Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accident common or unavoidable.
- Chastity: Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s reputation.
- Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
There are so many people in the world today that have some pretty messed up lives. So many are looking for happiness in all the wrong places. Too many are chasing the buck or looking for love in all the wrong places. Many would find happiness by following the advice given to us by Franklin. He adopted a meat-free diet and drank mostly water.
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