2 min read

Benjamin Franklin's Thirteen Virtues of Life (a.k.a. Productivity on Steroids)

Benjamin Franklin, one of the U.S. founding fathers, achieved a lot in his life.
He was a fascinating person, who during his lifetime claimed titles such as scientist, author, inventor, musician and politician. Surely, Franklin, is one of the most interesting and prolific figures from our history books.

A title I had not stumbled upon though, was productivity guru.

Yet, after studying his life further, I am starting to believe that he just might be one of the best – and first – examples of a productivity expert in the Western world.

I don’t think I’m the only who wonders:

How did Benjamin Franklin get so much done?

Turns out, it was a strategy, set at a young age, that helped him pursue and accomplish many impactful things.

It was – in fact – a highly conscious decision.

When he was 20 years old, he decided to set some serious goals for self-improvement.

He decided “to commit to the bold and arduous goal of arriving at moral perfection” without committing “any fault at any time”.

For some, this might sound like the premise to an incredibly an incredibly rigid life. And perhaps so. No doubt though, did this decision have a tremendous impact on his life and his productivity.

Here are the thirteen virtues that Franklin set to lead his life by

Read them, study them, and let yourself get inspired. Perhaps copy one of two into your own life!

  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; i.e., waste nothing.
  6. Industry. Lose no time; be always employ’d 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, cloaths, or habitation.
  11. Tranquillity. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  12. 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.
  13. Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.