The Autobiography of B. Franklin

Notable points about B. Franklin:
– He was an avid reader and learned multiple languages, this helped him to be understood and to be able to influence others
– He was a good writer and would write prolifically, this helped in to be known a communicate to a wider audience
– He would reserve Sunday for studying
– He was a hard worker, being seen at work when other would go home and being back at work before others would arrive
– He was not religious but believed in a God and agreed that some principles taught by religions were correct
– He believed that bad habits should be broken and good habits be put in place “before we can have any dependence on a steady, uniform rectitude of conduct”
– He made a list of 13 virtues that he wished to become habits. They are in the order to be practiced:
○ Temperance – Eat and drink in moderation (moderation of needed things and abstinence from things which are not needed)
○ Silence – Speak when it may benefits others or yourself, avoid at all costs speaking badly about others
○ Order – Let all your things have their place, 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
○ 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 injury or omitting the benefits that are your duty
○ Moderation – Avoid extremes, forbear resenting Injuries so much as you think they deserve
○ Cleanliness – Tolerate no uncleanness in body, clothes, or habitation
○ Tranquility – Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable
○ Chastity – Rarely use sexual indulgence 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
– On the topic of humility he made a point to forego all direct contradictions to the sentiment of others. To choose kindness instead of asserting his own rightness. This approach was helpful to convert listeners to his opinion, being more inclined to do so by the kinder tones.
– He would practice a virtue per week, adding to the previous week. To practice he would keep a diary and mark each time that he did not behave according to the virtue
– He once had a rival in the assembly and, to establish a better rapport he asked a favor to him, based on the old maxim that “He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged”
– He split the day into four parts:
○ Morning (question: what good shall I do today)
§ 5 to 7 – Rise, wash eat and address God. Contrive day’s business and take the resolution of the day. Prosecute the present study
§ 8 to 11 – Work
○ Noon
§ 12 to 1 – Read, overlook accounts and eat
§ 2 to 5 – Work
○ Evening (question: what good have I done today?)
§ 6 to 9 – Put things in their place. Eat. Music, diversion or conversation. Examination of the day.
○ Night:
§ 10 to 4 – Sleep