I just finished the biography of Ben Franklin. It was hilarious! As a young man, he was always getting duped by friends who often “borrowed” his money. Despite temporary setbacks, his hard work and integrity paid off. His printing press was so successful that he was able to turn over its management to his partner and acheive greater accomplishments as a scientist, inventor, statesman, and ambassador. Image of book courtesy of Barnes and Noble.
His set of values were a great force in his accomplishments. He carried a little notebook around with him and would work on one value at a time. He would mark a black mark under the value for his faults that day.
My intention being to acquire the Habitude of all these Virtues, I judg’d it would be well not to distract my Attention by attempting the whole at one, but to fit it on one of them at a time, and when I should be Master of that, then to proceed to another, and so on till I should have gone thro’ the thirteen.
Awesome! That’s what I’m trying to do with my habits–work on just one at a time. Here are his values.
Eat not to Dullness. Drink not to Elevation
Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself. Avoiding trifling Conversation.
Let all your Things have their Places. Let each Part of your Business have its Time.
Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve.
Make no Expense but to do good to others or yourself. i.e., Waste nothing.
Lose no Time. Be always employ’d in something useful. Cut off all unnecessary Actions.
Use no hurtful Deceit. Think innocently and justly; and, if you speak; speak accordingly.
Wrong non, by doing Injuries or omitting the Benefit that are your Duty.
Avoid Extremes. Forbear resenting Injuries so much as you think they deserve.
Tolerate no Uncleanness in Body, Clothes or Habitation.
Be not disturbed at Trifles, or Accidents common or unavoidable.
Rarely use Venery but for Health or Offspring; Never to Dullness, Weakness, or the Injury of your own or another’s Peace or Reputation.
Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
Living these values certainly paid off for Franklin. For a worksheet of his accomplishments that you can do with your children, click here.