THE Most Interesting Person in American History: Ben Franklin has made more contributions to our modern society than anyone else I can think of. I think I have a crush on him. Not only did he famously discover how to attract electricity and put that discovery to use by installing lightning rods on the rooftops of Philadelphia homes so they wouldn’t burn down from lightning strikes, but he was the inventor of a host of other present day institutions. They include the first public lending library, first hospital, first fire station, first non-religious educational university (University of Pennsylvania), he plotted the Jet Stream during his travels to and from Europe, invented the highly efficient Franklin Stove and even invented bifocals…..and more! Ben franklin believed in maintaining an agreeable personality in order to put no offense toward anyone. This personality style allowed him to single-handedly gain the friendship and alliance of the French which was key in helping us win our Independence from England when the chips were down and we were on the verge of losing the Revolutionary War.
The First Self-Help Author: Ben Franklin wrote The Art of Virtue. He listed 13 virtuous behaviors he aspired to live by, and then graded himself daily on his performance of each. He found that he wasn’t as virtuous has he’d liked, but that he could gain self-betterment through this practice. His 13 Virtues are: Temperance, Silence, Order, Resolution, Frugality, Industry, Sincerity, Justice, Moderation, Cleanliness, Tranquility, Chastity and Humility. The Art of Manliness has a great blog devoted to this in more detail.
Be Like Ben: Write down Ben’s list of behaviors (or create your own list) and put some thought into your daily review of your own performance. They say in 21 days you’ll create a new habit. They also say writing things down helps you achieve them better. Share with me what a few of the behaviors on your list your list would look like.