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Monday, March 27, 2006

Wisdom from the past: A guide for living a meaningful life

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) believed in self-improvement and worked to improve his body, mind, and spirit. In his late 20s he listed thirteen values that he attempted to live by for the rest of his life. By all accounts, he was successful and he made a daily commitment to incorporating these virtues into his life.

His thirteen virtues – listed below in his own words (along with the original spelling) - can help us live a life of meaning and purpose.

Temperance: Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
Order: Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time. Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
Industry: Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
Justice: Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
Moderation: Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
Tranquillity: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
Chastity: Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Benjamin Franklin made it a point to begin and end his day with these questions:
What good shall I do this day? What good have I done this day?

Important words of wisdom from the past that we can put to good use today.

Positive Perspectives Blog

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