Self help books are in abundance. Life style coaches thrive as the entrepreneurs of our culture. Everyone is looking for a better, fuller, richer life.
It appears the desire to do better, be better is not unique to our times. In 1726 Benjamin Franklin, then a young man of 20, sought to improve his character through a list of virtues that he deemed important. After much study and contemplation, he created this list:
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 employ’d 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 uncleanliness in body, cloaths, 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.
YOUR TURN Which virtue do you hold dear? Which one could you work on in 2015?