Benjamin Franklin was known for many things. He wore numerous hats – he was a printer, scientist, philosopher, and statesman, amongst others. Early in his life when he was still finding his way in the world he set upon a moral perfection project, aiming to achieve the highest level of moral perfection. In order to do this he constructed a list of twelve virtues he thought desirable. I think the following list provides an excellent guide to daily living. So as we start a new week, I hope this list provides a useful lesson, or at the very least, food for thought.
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 good to others or yourself (i.e. 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, 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, 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.