The 13 Virtues of Benjamin Franklin are:
- 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 your 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 employ’d 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, 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: Imitate Jesus and Socrates
To look deeper on how these Virtues can help you to create wealth, we take a look at the virtue of Industry.
Industry builds upon the previous three virtues: Order, Resolution, and Frugality. It takes all the attributes from these virtues and applies time, or rather the use of your time to apply those virtues. That is not to say that you have to spend every waking moment working toward monetary goals. Family and social interaction is more important, but it has to balance with your ability to thrive financially. “Leisure,” Ben Franklin said, “is the time for doing something useful; this leisure the diligent man will attain, but to the lazy man, never.”
Industry forces us to look at our available waking time to make necessary gains whether it is financial, spiritual, healthful, or relational. If you approach leisure time as a period to make some personal gain, you will have mastered Industry. Industry allows us to think about balancing time over the tasks we have in life. I examine “balance” further in this book, but industry is the key to maintaining balance.
Ways of being “employed in something useful” in terms of your own finances start with increasing your knowledge. If you are reading this, you are doing this now. Expand your reading list into other books with financial, and wealth themes. Next, look at ways to employ Order to your finances and methods to employ Frugality. Take the time to review your debts, credits, and savings and if necessary, use some good financial tracking software to understand the flow of your money. As we continue to use Industry to balance our lives, consider the things you need to do to stay healthy; use your leisure time to exercise. Do not forget to spend time to “think”. Think about your goals, ways to save money, ways to save time, how to be more productive. In short, think about ways to adhere to the virtues outlined here and how they can directly relate to improving your finances.
Franklin stated, “Frugality and Industry freeing me from my remaining debt, and producing affluence and independence, would make more easy the practice of Sincerity and Justice, etc., etc.”
Begin to Use Industry in Improving Wealth
- Document a weekly schedule of the way you spend your time now. Include accurate sleep time, work time, family time, etc.
- Once you complete your actual schedule, examine it for wasted time as well as finding time to get the appropriate amount of sleep, exercise, and personal time. Create a new schedule that will help improve your health as well as gain time to do more productive things
- Consider using scheduling software (Microsoft Outlook, Franklin Planner) to help you with this effort
- Read all you can about wealth, debt, investing, and saving. As Dr. Franklin said, “An investment in Knowledge pays the best interest.”