Benjamin Franklin, inventor, statesman, writer, editor and economist recounts in his autobiography that early in his life he decided to focus on reaching moral perfection. He made a list of 13 virtues, assigning a page to each. Below each virtue he wrote a summary that gave it a fuller meaning. He then practiced each one for a certain period of time.
To make these virtues a habit, Franklin can create a method for evaluating himself in his daily actions. In a journal, he drew a table with a row for each virtue and a column for each day of the week. Every time he made a mistake, he made a mark in the corresponding column. Each week he turned his attention to a different virtue. In time, through repetition, he hoped one day to experience the pleasure of “seeing a clean Book.”
He says he performed this personal exam for years. To get the job done thoroughly, he decided to test each virtue and a quarter of its importance, one at a time. It began with temperance, which included the moderation of all pleasure or inclination to develop undesirable habits, because temperance “tends to provide that coldness and clearness and head that is so necessary where you must maintain constant vigilance and keep on guard against attraction incessant. of ancient habits and the force of perpetual temptations. “
The other virtues practiced successively by Franklin were silence, order, resolution, frugality, industriousness, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquility, chastity, and humility. For summary order, he followed a little scheme of spending his time each day. Every morning from five to seven he would spend in personal attention, saying a short prayer, thinking about the issues and purposes of the day, studying, and having breakfast. From eight to twelve he worked at his trade. From twelve to one he would read or ignore his stories and eat dinner. From two to five he worked at his trade. The rest of the night until 10 o’clock was spent in music, or fun of some kind.
This time is also used to put things in their place. The last thing before retiring was exam of the day. At the age of 79, he attributed his health to temperance; the acquisition of misfortunes for industry and frugality; your country’s confidence in sincerity and justice.
Franklin’s extraordinary success in life and politics can be attributed to his perseverance to overcome his personal responsibilities and his desire for constant improvement.