Benjamin Franklin said, “Avoid extremes. Thus, after 13 weeks he had moved through all 13 virtues and would then start the process over again. Ben Franklin’s ‘Virtue Cards’ For a large portion of Franklin’s life, he carried around a card in his pocket that depicted a simple table with seven columns and 13 rows on it. Each column on this card represented a day of the week – Monday through Sunday. 7. Franklin, a printer, had a small book of charts made up that allowed him to keep track of his progress in living the virtues. Be always employed in something useful. He attributed most of his success and happiness to the pursuit of these virtues, though he admits that he never attained the perfection. Benjamin Franklin’s 13 virtues served as a guide to him for most of his long life. In the 1700's the word "virtue " meant honesty and truth. “Silence,” wrote Franklin. “Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.” The idea has more merit today – a time when noise bombards us at every turn – than Franklin ever could have envisioned some 295 years ago. Benjamin Franklin. According to Franklin his initial list was of 12 virtues, but then a Quaker friend pointed out that he might want to consider adding ‘humility.' Each row on this card represented one of 13 virtues that he wanted to work on. You too can implement a virtue system in your life. Ben admitted that he was never able to live the virtues perfectly, but felt he had become a better and happier man for having made the attempt. Meno concedes that this ability is only a virtue if it is exercised in a good way–in other words, virtuously. Benjamin Franklin’s 13 Virtues. Conveniently this 13th virtue allowed for the second step, where Franklin concentrated on one virtue per week. Industry: Lose no time. Cut off all unnecessary actions. Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself: i.e., Waste nothing. In his late 20's, President Benjamin Franklin listed 13 virtues that he felt were an important guide for living. You can get your own Benjamin Franklin virtue chart and journal here . The following virtues can be divided in personal and social behavior: Temperance, Silence, Order, Resolution, Frugality, Industry, Sincerity, Justice, Moderation, Cleanliness, Tranquility, Chastity and … 6. He wouldn’t make any progress and fail repeatedly. So if people differ in virtue, as they do, this must be because they differ in their ability to acquire the fine things they consider good. He listed them from the most important to the least. Even so, Franklin worked at these virtues throughout his life, but how he did so is just as interesting. No, as we look at his second famed virtue, silence takes on an entirely different meaning. 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