Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the US. He was a noted polymath (def: A person of wide-ranging knowledge or learning), a leading author, politician, musician, inventor, statesman, scientist…bottom line – a genius, this man.
He developed a process of overcoming his bad habits and replacing them with good habits. He worked on this every single day. KEEP IN MIND, THIS WAS OVER 290 YEARS AGO. Is it any wonder then, why this man was as accomplished as he was.
I read his process, his approach and his disciplined execution. Writing down his goals. Tracking progress daily. My reaction? I am a Sloth.
“…He listed 13 virtues he felt were important in his life. (Link to Benjamin Franklin’s Chart of 13 Virtues.) Then he worked on each of the virtues, focusing on one per week for 13-week period. By the end of a week, he felt he was well on the way to mastering the bad habit and so he proceeded in the next week to work on the following virtue, at the same time recording his success with all the other virtues. Since some of the virtues would facilitate the acquisition of others, he put them in a specific order.
…Franklin gave a week’s strict attention to each of the virtues successively. Thus, in the first week, he made every effort to be temperate, exercising moderation and self-restraint. He left the other virtues to their ordinary chance, only marking every evening the faults of the day. At the end of the first week when he saw that next to the T it was clear of spots, he figured his ability to be temperate was strengthened and that he could focus on the next virtue the following week. He proceeded this way until after 13 weeks he had focused on all virtues. After one 13-week period, he repeated the process so that there were “four courses in a year.” (Link to his Process and Chart)
(After completing the project he commented) “And like him who, having a garden to weed, does not attempt to eradicate all the bad herbs at once, which would exceed his reach and his strength, but works on one of the beds at a time, and, having accomplished the first, proceeds to a second, so I should have, I hoped, the encouraging pleasure of seeing on my pages the progress I made in virtue, by clearing successively my lines of their spots, till in the end, by a number of courses, I should he happy in viewing a clean book, after a thirteen weeks’ daily examination.”
- Thank you Tony Caselli (Ben Franklin’s Daily Schedule) for the inspiration.
- Suggestions for Living Better From the Life of Benjamin Franklin by John R. Fisher, Ph.D.
- Wiki on Ben Franklin