Pursuing the Excellent Life
Jan. 5, 2022

Benjamin Franklin's Method of Self-Improvement

Whether you realize it or not, who you are is under your control. You get to decide the sort of person you are and the virtues you exhibit. In this episode, I discuss Benjamin Franklin's "... bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection."

Franklin's method is elegant in it's simplicity and powerful in its ability to transform lives. Listen as I describe his method and delve into why I find it so useful and effective.

Example of Franklin's notebook:


Franklin Virtues Chart (8.5” x 11”)

These are set up for 13 virtues, but you can easily adjust them for four, eight, or whatever number you want. A simple find & replace can replace Virtue 1, etc. with your virtues. These are all the same, just in different formats. 

Word: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1pJbwjKeYRXHzBrt4EF2-welz1KZqf4U5/view?usp=sharing

.odt: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1pJbwjKeYRXHzBrt4EF2-welz1KZqf4U5/view?usp=sharing

Google Doc: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1681lkb9N6QsbZzwgLCWIbBzqW-Lbv7s8zP2E3PVMSRg/edit?usp=sharing

Franklin Virtues Chart 3x5 card version, four virtues: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1DGVa47DWXqe3ZtdrjQFPY14AQ1vA07Mm/edit?usp=sharing&ouid=110655451884880977802&rtpof=true&sd=true 

Franklin Virtues Chart 3x5 card version, list your own virtues: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RaEK5KkrMPSluoD7Et0hCfyPjqT-8UkN/edit?usp=sharing&ouid=110655451884880977802&rtpof=true&sd=true 

Franklin’s Thirteen Virtues

Temperance | Eat not to dullness. Drink not to elevation.
Silence | Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
Order | Let 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. 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; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
Cleanliness | Tolerate no uncleanliness in body clothes, or habitation
Tranquility | 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 | Be neither vain nor pusillanimous. Think of yourself less.