- “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 employ’d 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, cloaths, or habitation.”
- “Tranquility. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at 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.”
Benjamin Franklin lived his life according to this thirteen-virtue plan that he designed himself by the time he was 20. However, Franklin knew that as a man, he couldn’t be good all the time, so, instead of working on all thirteen at the same time, he decided to work on one virtue per week. True, Franklin didn’t always follow this plan (especially when it involved ahem women, alcohol and drugs), but he truly believed that because of this idea, he was a much, much happier man.
In his autobiography, he stressed these thirteen virtues more than any other point in hopes “that some of my descendants may follow the example and reap the benefit.” Which is why, thanks to Wikipedia, I am now posting this here.
I hope that someone else sees this and, like me, thinks what a brilliant and simple idea this is and appreciates that one of the greatest men in history left this for me.>>