Monday, November 06, 2006

Ben Franklin's Virtue Building Method

Beniman Franklin worked hard at self-discipline. He believed the foundation of his success, and the key to his many accomplishments was a weekly chart, listing 13 virtues on a grid with days of the week. Franklin would pay strict attention all day long to each virtue successively. For the first week for example, he'd tackle temperance, "leaving the other virtues to their ordinary chance." Each night, he would mark the areas where he found fault. The following week, he'd move on to silence, and work on eliminating all useless conversation.

Using the technique, Franklin worked through 13 virtues. At the end of the 13th week, he'd start all over, and run through the entire list four times a year.

Franklin admitted he often didn't do very well. " Isoon found I had undertaken a task of more difficulty than I had imagined," he wrote in his autobiography. "While my care was employed in guarding against one fault, I was often surprised by another; habit took the advantage of inattention; inclination was sometimes too strong for reason." The list of virtues Franklin counted most important included chastity, temperance, silence, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquillity, and humanity. But he believed himself to be "a better and happier man than I otherwise should have been if I had not attempted it."

You might try Franklin's technique and substitue some contemporary virtues of your own, working daily to make them permantly established habits. For example: enthusiasm, concentration, confidence, listening, delegation, eliminating inefficiency, careful grooming, effective speaking.

Franklin is considered the father of Modern Positive Thinking!

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