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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Ben Franklin and Self-Discipline

You probably know Ben Franklin as one of the Fathers of the United States, a great leader and diplomat. He signed the major documents of the founding of the U.S. including the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Maybe you know him as an inventor, or as a scientist who flew kites in lightning storms, or as a writer and printing press operator.

But did you know that in 1726, at the age of 20, while on an 80-day ocean voyage from London back to Philadelphia, he developed a “Plan” for regulating his future conduct? He was partially motivated by Philippians 4:8

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

His “Plan” was made up of 13 virtues, each with short descriptions:

1. Temperance
2. Silence
3. Order
4. Resolution
5. Frugality
6. Industry
7. Sincerity
8. Justice
9. Moderation
10. Cleanliness
11. Chastity
12. Tranquility
13. Humility

BOTTOMLINE: Ben committed to giving strict attention to one virtue each week so after 13 weeks he moved through all 13. After 13 weeks he would start the process over again so in one year he would complete the course a total of 4 times. Talk about self-discipline!

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