In my previous post in this “Art of Virtue” series we all learned a valuable lesson from Benjamin Franklin: we need to change our habits!
Today we will look at the details of the “Art of Virtue” and how they can help us make that change. The method involves focusing exclusively on one of thirteen positive character habits for an entire week while recording how you fared at keeping to it. The next week focus is on another habit, and so on, until all of the habits have had a turn. Benjamin Franklin explains it best.
From the Autobiography By Benjamin Franklin:
“I included under thirteen names of virtues all that at that time occurred to me as necessary or desirable and annexed to each a short precept which fully expressed the extent I gave to its meaning. These names of virtues with their precepts were:
1 TEMPERANCE: Eat not to dullness drink not to elevation
2 SILENCE: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself avoid trifling conversation
3 ORDER: Let all your things have their places let each part of your business have its time
4 RESOLUTION: Resolve to perform what you ought perform without fail what you resolve
5 FRUGALITY: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself that is waste nothing
6 INDUSTRY: Lose no time be always employed in something useful cut off all unnecessary actions
7 SINCERITY: Use no hurtful deceit think innocently and justly and if you speak speak accordingly “
8 JUSTICE: Wrong none by doing injuries or omitting the benefits that are your duty
9 MODERATION: Avoid extremes forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve
10 CLEANLINESS: Tolerate no uncleanliness in body clothes or habitation
11 TRANQUILLITY: Be not disturbed at trifles or at accidents common or unavoidable
13 HUMILITY: Imitate Jesus and Socrates
My intention being to acquire the habitude of all these virtues I judged it would be well not to distract my attention by attempting the whole at once but to fix it on one of them at a time and when I should be master of that then to proceed to another and so on till I should have gone through the thirteen And as the previous acquisition of some might facilitate the acquisition of certain others I them with that view as they stand above “
So if we want to develop these habits we must take them one at a time, one week at a time.
But first, let’s take a look at our current habits,… next time on TenaciousFrog .
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Other possible posts in the series:
Art of Virtue: Why examine your habits
Art of Virtue: Why developing habits is better than learning “tricks”
Art of Virtue: How to modify the method to fit your particular situation and character
(will cite How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling by Frank Bettger)