Simple 18th Century Guidance for Good Living from One of America’s Most Fascinating Polymaths - 13 Qualities and 2 Questions for Good Days, Every Day
These days, you trip and fall into another personal development coach.
That’s not a bad thing, if it is creating more self-awareness and self-reflection - But how much has to be triggered from the outside? At some point, does this need to be self-guided?
And, do the basic principles really change with the time?
Looking at Benjamin Franklin, it is self-guided and the basics don’t change much with passing of time - This 18th century American polymath had the wisdom at age 20 to develop a list of “13 Virtues” to guide his daily life.
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 extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
10/ Cleanliness - Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
11/ Tranquility - Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
12/ 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.
13/ Humility - Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
He also used a simple technique to plan and reflect on each day.
· Morning - plan work by asking “What good shall I do this day?”
· Evening - reflect the day’s work with “What good have a I done today?”
Uncomplicated - No fluff - Clear virtues and simple questions.
Where can we look for personal development? Follow the example of a man who had the curiosity to be a scientist, inventor, writer, publisher, statesman, and philosopher.