Friday, August 24, 2012

Axiom 26: A Modern Revision to Franklin's 13 Virtues

"The unexamined life is not worth living." -Socrates

"A man can never hope to be more than he is if he is not first honest about what he isn't." -Don Williams, Jr.

Benjamin Franklin wrote about 13 virtues he thought necessary to have a happy, complete, and successful life. He worked on these virtues throughout his life. For those that are interested you can read more about it here. You can also read in detail about the process Franklin used to refine these virtues in his autobiography.

I think the concept Franklin developed is still useful today. However, a virtue in the strictest sense has moral implications. Therefore, in our modern world Franklin's 13 virtues seem slightly out of place. With this in mind I have written 13 areas of study that transcend the barriers of virtues to encompass all that is needed to become successful and happy in our modern world.

How you work on these 13 categories is entirely up to you. Franklin worked on them by making a grid with the days of the week on one axis and the virtues on the other axis. At the end of the day he would put an 'X' in the box on each virtue that he failed at. His goal was to mark fewer and fewer X's each week. Franklin also began concentrating on one virtue individually for a week or month until he saw improvement and then moved onto the next one. Ideally you will do the same, finding simple ways to improve your life by focusing on these 13 categories as a whole and also individually. Gradually you will notice an enormous change in your life.

The 13 Areas of Mastery of the Modern Successful Person:
  1. Education - Always learning, always reading, always watching. School ends but learning never does. Always learning new trades and skills is key to continual improvement.
  2. Organization - Everything has a place. Neat, tidy, easy to find and recall when needed.
  3. Time-Management - Our greatest resource. You must master time or it will master you. Schedule everything, waste as little time as possible.
  4. Balance - Everything in moderation, including moderation. Make ample time for work and family.
  5. Simplicity - Always look for the simpler solution. Everything can be simplified.
  6. Distractions - Minimize distractions. They are killers for success and happiness.
  7. Money - Master your money or it will master you.
  8. Appearance - Be clean, well-dressed, always pleasant.
  9. Charity - Be willing to help others with your time and resources.
  10. Health - Your body is your temple. Treat it as such.
  11. Ethical - Be true to your handshake and your word. Your reputation and success depend on it.
  12. Network - Reach out to others. Find a mentor. Be a mentor.
  13. Faith - Practice and study your spiritual beliefs.