I came across Benjamin Franklin’s 13 virtues, and was inspired to share how they can improve self-awareness.
Franklin’s amazing success can be attributed to his continuous pursuit for self-improvement. He came up with a list of 13 virtues which he would perfect and strive to live up to.
He also documented and tracked his progress along the way and wisely decided not to try to tackle all of the 13 virtues at once. Instead, he would concentrate on one at a time.
In his biography that he wrote at the age of 79, he said that he never achieved his goal of attaining perfection:
“Tho’ I never arrived at the perfection I had been so ambitious of obtaining, but fell far short of it, yet I was, by the endeavor, a better and a happier man than I otherwise should have been if I had not attempted it.”
We should all work on self-improvement by setting goals and having an action plan for each of them. Even if we can’t achieve them all, we will definitely be in a better and happier place than where we started off. What’s stopping you?
Here are the 13 virtues:
Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
Self-discipline is the first and necessary trait to adhere to the other 12 virtues. Temperance calls for one to conquer your primal urges for food and drink. You’ll be in a good position to start making improvements in other areas of your life.
Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
Be a good listener can be harder than you imagine. Listening is not the same as hearing. It’s hard to not let your own thoughts interrupt and you land up not paying full attention to the person speaking. Good listening skills can provide you with a deeper level of understanding about someone’s situation, and improve communication with others!
Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
Organize your life, do not be overwhelmed. If you want to thrive in this world, you must develop order. We all lead busy lives and everything moves towards chaos and disorganization. Fight against the complexity, and strive to achieve more balance in your life.
Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
Promise to put your best foot forward. If you want to succeed in life, you must have the tenacity and determination to complete what you’ve set out to do. Be determine, work hard, and do not give up.
Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
Weed out unnecessary abundance and wastage. We are all guilty of falling prey to the materialistic society that we live in. Do we really need all the things we own or desire to own?
Industry. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
Nothing in life is free. People are always looking for get rich quick schemes that provide them a huge payout with minimum effort. Honest hard work is what that will pay off at the end of the day.
Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
Being honest means choosing not to lie, steal, cheat, or deceive in any way. Avoid gossiping and hurting others as well.
Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
Treat others the way you want to be treated. Be fair, and do not take advantage of others. Strive for fair treatment of all, stand up even for strangers, and confront injustice whenever you see it.
Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
We tend to think that more of everything will give us more satisfaction and a fulfilling life. The truth is sometimes less is more, and everything in moderation can increase your happiness and pleasure.
Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
Developing cleanliness enables the flow of positive energy. It also develops discipline and your attention to detail. Declutter your home, practice self grooming, show up in life positively.
Tranquillity. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
Practice anger management. Stay calm and lead a peaceful live. Meditate to help you be more present and deal with stress and control your emotions.
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.
We live in a society that glamorizes sex. It is probably the virtue that is the least popular these days. The once sacred act has been cheapened and commoditized.
Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
Be humble. Have the quiet confidence to allow your actions to speak for themselves. You don’t have to try too hard or prove anything to anyone, but to yourself.