Hot on the Press – I Keep a Record of my Virtue – The Benjamin Franklin Method

#BenjaminFranklin #Virtues #BetterPerson


Benjamin Franklin, one of the most respected men in America’s history, decided to become a better man by choosing thirteen virtues and living in line with those virtues. He devised a plan to improve himself. His method is described in his autobiography, which is freely available thanks to the Gutenberg project.


Benjamin Franklin printed a book for himself to help him follow his progress in becoming more virtuous. He FOCUSED on one virtue at first. Every day, for a week, he focused on not doing anything that would be contrary to that virtue. For the other virtues, he would count the number of transgressions relative to those virtues. Once he mastered the one virtue, he would move on and then strive to keep his record clean for the mastered virtues plus one more virtue.


My rendition of Benjamin Franklin’s list of virtues is as follows,

  1. Self-restraint: Do not overeat nor drink until drunk.
  2. Silence: Only say something that will benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  3. Order: Everything has a place and everything in its place. Everything has its time and everything must be done in its time.
  4. Resolution: Do what you must and do what you said you would do.
  5. Frugality: Only spend money to benefit yourself or others – do not waste anything.
  6. Industry: Do not waste time – keep yourself busy with something useful and don’t do what is unnecessary.
  7. Sincerity: Do not be deceiving; think and speak innocently and justly.
  8. Justice: Do not harm anyone: either by doing something or not doing what you are supposed to do.
  9. Moderation: Avoid extremes – do not make others jealous.
  10. Cleanliness: Clean body, clothes and home.
  11. Tranquillity: Do not sweat the small things or things out of your control.
  12. Chastity
  13. Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

If you would like to follow the Benjamin Franklin method I have a new notebook for you which will allow you to keep track of your progress to a more virtuous you. I wish you luck in your journey and leave you with this prayer by Benjamin Franklin:

“O powerful Goodness! bountiful Father! merciful Guide! Increase in me that wisdom which discovers my truest interest. Strengthen my resolutions to perform what that wisdom dictates. Accept my kind offices to thy other children as the only return in my power for thy continual favours to me.”


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