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Benjamin Franklin: Lessons in Life Mastery
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John Peterson John Peterson is offline
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01-16-2018, 07:47 PM
Hello Everyone,

This past weekend I re-read one of my all time favorite books, "The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin".

Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706, Boston - April 17, 1790 Philadelphia), was an American Renaissance Man. He was a printer, inventor, physical culturist, musician, statesman, diplomat and one of the most prominent scientists in the world of the Enlightenment, famed for his discoveries and experiments in electricity.

He was known as "the First American" because his efforts were critical to the formation of the new nation, the success of the American Revolution and the unification of the 13 colonies into the new "United States of America". Serving as the American Ambassador to France, he secured decisive military and financial aid for the American Revolution, while asserting the values of democracy and republicanism. He assisted his protege Thomas Jefferson in writing the Declaration of Independence in 1776 when he (Franklin) was 70 years of age and helped to write and legitimize the U.S. Constitution in 1787 at the age 81 which, at the time, was considered extraordinary because the average life expectancy was 36. His effective diplomacy, creative nationalism, promotion of civic virtue and devotion to republicanism earned him the top tier as a Founding Father.

The key to Franklin’s success was his drive to constantly improve himself and accomplish his ambitions. In 1726, at the age of 20, Ben Franklin set his loftiest goal while on an eighty day voyage back to the colonies in America. His Goal: the attainment of moral perfection. In chapter 9 of his autobiography he states,

"I conceiv’d the bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection. I wish’d to live without committing any fault at any time; I would conquer all that either natural inclination, custom, or company might lead me into."

In order to accomplish his goal, Franklin developed and committed himself to a personal improvement program that consisted of living 13 virtues. The 13 virtues were:

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 do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.”
6. “INDUSTRY. Lose no time; be always employ’d 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, cloaths, or habitation.”
11. “TRANQUILLITY. 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.”
13. “HUMILITY. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.”

He stated at the end of his autobiography that it was his pursuit and practice of the 13 Virtues that made his life a standout success.

I challenge anyone to not only read but also APPLY Franklin's 13 Virtues. By doing so you will have lived a life worth living and will have achieved total life mastery.

---John Peterson
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