Friday, January 29, 2010

Morality: lessons from Benjamin Franklin

Thanks to the many interesting articles and links shared by my friends on Twitter, I've come across an interesting post on Benjamin Franklin and his life lessons on virtue and morality. I wanted to share it with you today.

Here's an excerpt from, "Lessons in Manliness: Benjamin Franklin's Pursuit of the Virtuous Life":

"Benjamin Franklin is an American legend. He single handily invented the idea of the “self-made man.” Despite being born into a poor family and only receiving two years of formal schooling, Franklin became a successful printer, scientist, musician, and author. Oh, and in his spare time he helped found a country, and then serve as its diplomat.

The key to Franklin’s success was his drive to constantly improve himself and accomplish his ambitions. In 1726, at the age of 20, Ben Franklin set his loftiest goal: the attainment of moral perfection.

In order to accomplish his goal, Franklin developed and committed himself to a personal improvement program that consisted of living 13 virtues..."

Of course, no man is perfect, and (as the authors note) Ben Franklin was no exception to this rule, even with his continuous pursuit of the virtuous life.

Still, I wonder what we can learn from Franklin's quest. How would society and business function today if more of us decided to embark on a similar quest for self-improvement?

Related articles and posts:
1. Great Lessons from Great Men - Get Rich Slowly.