Monday, 12 March 2012

Franklin's 13 Virtues

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In 1726, at the age of 20, Benjamin Franklin devised a list of 13 virtues to live by for as long as possible, in an attempt to "live without committing any fault at any time." He then focussed on one virtue each week and kept notes on his progress. He began with "Temperance."

The list read as follows.

(Source: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin; Image: Benjamin Franklin, via.)

  1. TEMPERANCE. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  2. SILENCE. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  3. ORDER. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  4. RESOLUTION. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  5. FRUGALITY. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
  6. INDUSTRY. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  7. SINCERITY. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
  8. JUSTICE. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  9. MODERATION. Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  10. CLEANLINESS. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
  11. TRANQUILLITY. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  12. CHASTITY. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dulness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
  13. HUMILITY. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.