1. Temperance – eat not to dullness; drink not to elation.
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; that is, waste nothing.
6. Industry – Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
7. Sincerity – Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly; speak accordingly.
8. Justice – Wrong none by doing injuries; or omitting the benefits of your duty.
9. Moderation – Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
10. Cleanliness – Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, 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.
Then at the suggestion of a Quaker friend Franklin had asked to edit his work, he added a thirteenth value, not his own, for which Franklin was not well suited and never succeeded in acquiring:
13. Humility – Emulate Christ and Socrates in all things.
Each day he would read his list and each week he would focus on a different aspect of his list repeating the process over and over and over again. Around his 80th year, old Ben said he’d achieved all his 12 virtues – but not the 13th. Why not? He stated plainly, “I’m not humble.”