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 Tranquility.
You have heard the terms “don’t sweat the petty stuff” or “take care of the big stuff and the small stuff will take care of itself.” This is true for most things. That is not to say that you should not be concerned with details. Ben Franklin reminded us of this in his Poor Richard’s Almanack with a version of an old proverb concerning details. “For want of a nail the shoe was lost, for want of a shoe the horse was lost, for want of a horse the rider was lost, for want of a rider the battle was lost, for want of a battle the kingdom was lost.”
You certainly need to be concerned with the details of your finances – to understand where you money is, how much is coming in, and how much goes out, but if you use big picture planning with your money, you will be less likely to worry about nickel and diming your way to and through retirement. If you look to plan for retirement by automatically investing significant funds into diversified holdings on a regular basis, your concern for small occurrences including the invariable downward shifts in the economy will be of less concern.
Franklin also recognized that spending too much time or focusing on the unimportant minutiae and accidental occurrences that happen in our lives tends to waste our time and make us less productive (See Industry). For me, Tranquility means I can focus on the details and subtleties of raising my children, running my business, planning vacations with my family, reading books, and not worrying about the details of things that are not important.
I recently deposited a check from a company that pays me to promote their products and services. I found out a few days later that my bank returned the check due to some issue related to availability of funds. The company and I worked the issue as they found it was their error. My problem was the fact that my bank charged me a fine (i.e. “fee”) to return the check. I am their customer, yet due to an error not of my doing, my bank penalized me. Tranquility allowed me to consider the time and effort it would take to fight the bank on a $5.00 fee, which was simply an issue of principle, and disregard it as relatively unimportant. That does not mean that I will necessarily continue to put my money in a bank that “nickel and dimes” me with petty fees, rather, I have a more pragmatic goal of moving to a more business-friendly bank, and set aside an issue over five dollars.
Begin to Use Tranquility in Improving Wealth
- Look closely at the things you want in life versus the things you need. Ensure your finances meet your needs before you spend on the things you want.
- Value your personal relationships and health over your possessions. Secure and trusted relationships make all things easier.