From the original Self-Help book – The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, published 1793. I have read this book several times and it continues to fascinate me. At the age of 20, Benjamin Franklin created a system to improve his character. He would focus his attention on one of the 13 virtues per week, noting when he fell short of his own expectations.
In his own words:
“I propos’d to myself, for the sake of clearness, to use rather more names, with fewer ideas annex’d to each, than a few names with more ideas; and I included under thirteen names of virtues all that at that time occurr’d to me as necessary or desirable, and annexed to each a short precept, which fully express’d the extent I gave to its meaning.” – Benjamin Franklin
The 13 Virtues:
- Temperance: Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
- Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversations.
- 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; that is, waste nothing.
- Industry: Lose not time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
- Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly; 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 you deserve.
- Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes or habitation.
- Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles or accidents 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 peace or reputation.
- Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
Highly recommended reading. Purchase your own copy through Amazon here: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
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