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The 13 Virtues


    Benjamin Franklin listed them as follows (from his autobiography):


  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-Loose 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. Tranquility-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

    I've modified his original list for the Daily Strategies.  Here's how and why  (this is the list that will be used in the Daily Strategies):

  1. Temperance-Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.  Eat no processed sugar.  Sleep 7 hours.  Exercise 30 minutes.  Why modified in this way?  This virtue seems to be a step to allow clear thinking and energy for the remaining virtues.  Avoiding foods with added sugar, sleeping 7 hours, and exercising 30 minutes per day seems to go far toward improving energy and clarity of thinking.
  2. Silence-no modification
  3. Order-no modification
  4. Resolution-Renamed "Resolution & Courage" Without courage there can be no virtue.  Courage allows the implementation of Resolution.
  5. Frugality-No modification
  6. Industry-No modification
  7. Sincerity-No modification
  8. Justice-No modification
  9. Moderation changed to "Thinking & Writing."  By "Writing" I don't mean the next great novel.  I mean plans, goals, budgets, love letters, letters of apology, notes about books and manuals read.  I don't find Benjamin Franklin to have been one who avoided extremes.  He was extreme enough to exercise treason to the King and start a nation.  He was very extreme.  I'm not into being different for difference's sake, but I don't see any particular virtue in trying to avoid being extreme.  As for "resenting injuries,"  if you imitate Jesus you will not resent injuries, so it seems redundant to list it separately.  On the other hand, writing clarifies thinking and thinking is such hard work that I need all the tools I can get.  Whether I'm thinking about how to run the next basketball practice for my third grader or how to plan the care of patients who volunteer for my next research project (a new anthrax vaccine), writing helps.  Of course, Benjamin Franklin was a prolific writer, which I think contributed to his clarity of thinking in science and politics.  So, I dropped moderation from the list and placed at number 9 this virtue:  Thinking & Writing-Spend daily time reading and then writing your thinking.
  10. Cleanliness-No modification
  11. Tranquility-No modification
  12. Chastity-No modification
  13. Humility- Changed to Humility, Love, & Outreach-(Because love in a vacuum is worthless)  Do something good for two people per day.  Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

For a clean, modified list, click here.