I got a Kindle for father's day and I really like it. I can't quite explain why, maybe it's the eInk screen (no glare, no back-lit eye fatigue), or maybe it's just because it is single purposed around reading books). In any event, I downloaded The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin - you know the guy: one of the founding fathers of the United States of America. He's on the $100 bill! The book has been very inspiring, and one section in particular has resonated with me: the art of virtue. Benjamin Franklin articulated for himself a list of virtues, and what they meant for him. These are the standards he tried to live by (admitting failure on several occasions!). He even went so far as to devise a scheme to measure his progress in living up to this personal code of conduct. Given his success in life, perhaps a personal code of conduct is something we should all articulate for ourselves. Here is Benjamin Franklin's:
- 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 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; 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 extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
- CLEANLINESS. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
- TRANQUILLITY. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
- CHASTITY. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dulness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
- HUMILITY. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
I see a little bit of Zen Habits in this list, specifically Ben's item on Resolution: isn't this just like purposing your day by articulating your Most Import Task? What is your code of conduct? What would you add or change in Mr. Franklin's list of virtues?
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