Benjamin Franklin was born in 1706 right into a family of really modest means. Today, they’d probably be referred to as lower middle course at best. His parents had actually just sufficient money come send the to institution for a couple of years in hope the he could eventually join the clergy, yet by the period of 10, he to be done through school. He was a print shop apprentice through the age of 12, climbing roughly on printing presses, sorting letters, mix ink, and every one of the other jobs needed to store a printing push running.

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From that humble background, Franklin became a highly successful printer, a famous writer, a scientist, a politician, and also a diplomat, amongst the plenty of other hats the wore. Throughout those efforts, he built up enough wealth to effectively retire separately wealthy in his forties, and he largely devoted the remainder of his life to public organization (and his separation, personal, instance interests). He to be such a towering number in the American transformation that he to be deservedly called the “first American,” and also his irradiate shines brightly even today.


Even come this day, Franklin’s Autobiography is a splendid read. Friend can gain a nice bag edition of the for simply a couple of dollars, check it the end at her library for free, or download it and read the electronically because that free. No matter how you check out it, I highly recommend you do so, together it’s one insightful book around an remarkable person.

One the the points that has actually really stood the end to me each time I’ve read his autobiography is the fact that that attributed many of his success (beyond that of luck) come practicing 13 core life virtues, to the finest of his ability. He thought that by living those virtues, he had actually done everything he can to placed himself in a place to it is in on the good side that the unexpected occasions of life.

He actually had an incredible system for working on those virtues, i beg your pardon I want to talk about today.

Ben Franklin’s ‘Virtue Cards’

For a large portion that Franklin’s life, the carried approximately a map in his bag that portrayed a an easy table with seven columns and also 13 rows top top it.

Each shaft on this card stood for a job of the main – Monday v Sunday. Each heat on this card represented one of 13 virtues that he want to occupational on.

During the day, he can glance at these virtues a time or 2 to keep them new in his mind. At the end of every day, however, he’d pull the end a pen and go through those virtues, questioning himself if he’d actually practiced them throughout the day and also marking package if he had done so. His goal to be to fill in as numerous boxes as possible, and each week, the would start anew with a fresh empty chart.

That wasn’t all. Not all of the charts were identical. In fact, he had actually 13 sport of the charts, which that cycled with every 13 weeks. Top top the height of every variation that the map was listed one virtue, which to be the main one he want to exercise that week, along with a quick description of the virtue.

For example, one week, he might really emphasis on frugality, when the following week might particularly focus on temperance. He’d reflect on and also record his success with all 13 virtues each day, yet he would intentionally emphasis on just one virtue each week.

You can download a share duplicate the his virtue card (without the specific focus for the week) here.

A final an essential part of his exercise is that he’d evaluation the cards together a totality at the end of every week, evaluating which virtues were effective that week, i m sorry ones to be not, and also which areas really needed emphasis and improvement in his life. He’d additionally review them as a set, and also thus through 13 cards to review, that roughly covers 3 months that living. A larger review like this – a “quarterly review” if you will – can point you to some bigger patterns follow me your path to ending up being a better person.

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Over time, this virtues became much more and much more ingrained in his character. He found himself naturally practicing them more than he once did, which do him right into a more well-rounded and also successful person and also a much better participant in society, which the attributed to being a healthy component of the success the he uncovered in nearly every attribute that life.