Benjamin Franklin, founding father of the United States (also known as ‘the first American’) experimented and discovered a few revolutionary thoughts and habits to uplift productivity and developing his personality. His principles, famously known as Franklin’s thirteen virtues have been adopted and implemented by countless number of individuals, corporates and organizations in last three hundred years. He had developed a list of 13 virtues and devoted one week each to practicing these habits to bring about positive transformation in his life. He pushed himself to work on a 13-week cycle, repeating it four times a year and found out that there were not just one but many significant improvements. Let us run through them once:
Here are the 13 Golden Habits listed and practiced by Franklin
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 things have their places; let each part of your business have it’s 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 employed 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 extremes; forebear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve
Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, and habitation
Tranquility: Be not disturbed by 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
Tailoring Franklin’s Habits for Contemporary Context
So much has changed since Franklin developed these principles; it is a matter to reflect- if these habits are still relevant in today’s time at all! Modern psychologists are of the opinion that application of these 13 habits may still bear fruitful results in a person or organization’s productivity. To highlight a few of these principles and explore how they can be applicable today to get better outcomes:
Silence: Speak and listen to only what is important and relevant according to you. Engaging in trifling conversations not only unproductive but will also waste your time and effort.
Order: Learn to set your priorities. Instead of indulging in a lot of activities, learn to focus at one or two things at a time. Start with what is the most important.
Resolution: Have unwavering determination while accomplishing any task. Do not give up at any cost. Stop not until you have reached your destination.
Industry: Always endeavor to keep yourself busy. Mark your calendar to do something useful all the time. Be industrious- work hard to receive wonderful results.
Justice: Do not indulge in any kind of activities that may harm others. Train your mind and build work ethics that is based on justice and not deceit.
Cleanliness: A basic and primitive requisite for a sustainable lifestyle! Allow no dirt to accumulate in your body, mind and working habits. Cleanliness is directly related to discipline, details and order.
Franklin’s principles are time tested and can be tailored to suit the need of the hour. These habits can be followed and applied as important guidelines to lead a life full of rewards and meaning.
Disclaimer: This article has been written by a member of Corporate Communications Team at Fortune Institute of International Business, and doesn’t reflect the views of the Institute.