Author and Printer
While an apprentice printer, he discovered that he was a better printer than the owner of the business that employed him. Thus, he borrowed some money and set up his own print shop. From there, he bought a newspaper and began to publish Poor Richard's Almanack. His almanac was filled with wit and vibrant writing. Many of the famous quotes attributed to Franklin, such as, "A penny saved is a penny earned" come from Poor Richard.
Franklin contributed greatly to the city of Philadelphia from paving, cleaning, and lighting the streets to forming the group that started the first hospital in the city. Additionally, he started the first Fire Company (fire department) as fires were very dangerous threat to Philadelphians. His famous quote, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," was actually fire-fighting advice.
He invented many things including swim fins, bifocals, and a heat-efficient stove. His work in observing the nature of electricity brought him international fame. You may recall his famous experiment with a kite in a lightning storm.
In the latter part of his life, he became very interested in politics. Prior to America’s independence, he served as the representative for Pennsylvania in England for almost 20 years. Upon his return, he worked actively for Independence even at odds with his son William, then the Royal Governor of New Jersey, who was a loyal Englishman. He was one of five on the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence.
His Faithful Plan
With all of these accomplishments, you may be interested in his “plan”. He developed a behavior modification system for his conduct at the young age of 20, when he was returning from London on an 80-day ocean voyage. It is partially based on Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”
His plan included 13 virtues, which in his own words, “I determined to give a week's strict attention to each of the virtues successively... Proceeding thus to the last, I could go through a course complete in thirteen weeks, and four courses in a year.”
- 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 uncleanness in body, clothes, or habitation.
- TRANQUILLITY: 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.
Here’s an example of the chart he used to monitor his actions. Every evening, he would consider the day’s activities and place a dot for each offense he committed.
After awhile he went through the series only once per year and then only once in several years until finally omitting them entirely. But he always carried the little book with him as a reminder.
Benjamin Franklin's 13 virtues are unique and obviously served him well since he is one of the most respected and most accomplished men in the history of the United States.
The Bubble Planner
The Bubble Planner includes Franklin’s 13 Virtues and many other tools based on Life Changing principles. If you are interesting in more information about The Bubble Planner, My Bubble Life Student Planner, or any of their other unique time management tools, e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit them on the web at The Bubble Planner.
Tags: Ben Franklin, Virtues, Habits