Tricks and Traditional Whiz-dim

Ben Franklin’s List of Virtues Defined

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.”



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