Benjamin Franklin’s 13 Virtues of Life

Benjamin Franklin’s 13 Virtues of Life

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Benjamin Franklin

In 1726, at the age of 20, Benjamin Franklin created a system to develop his character. In his autobiography, Benjamin Franklin’s 13 Virtues of Life are listed as:

  • Temperance: Eat not to Dullness. Drink not to Elevation.
  • Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself. Avoid trifling Conversation.
  • Order: Let all your Things have their Places. Let each Part of your Business have its Time.
  • Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve.
  • Frugality: Make no Expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e. Waste nothing.
  • Industry: Lose no Time. Be always employed in something useful. Cut off all unnecessary Actions.
  • Sincerity: Use no hurtful Deceit. Think innocently and justly; and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
  • Justice: Wrong none, by doing Injuries or omitting the Benefits that are your Duty.
  • Moderation: Avoid Extremes. Forbear resenting Injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  • Cleanliness: Tolerate no Uncleanness in Body, Clothes or Habitation.
  • Tranquility: Be not disturbed at Trifles, or at Accidents common or unavoidable.
  • 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.
  • Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

“I propos’d to myself, for the sake of clearness, to use rather more names, with fewer ideas annex’d to each, than a few names with more ideas; and I included under thirteen names of virtues all that at that time occurr’d to me as necessary or desirable, and annexed to each a short precept, which fully express’d the extent I gave to its meaning.” – Benjamin Franklin

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