Benjamin Franklin’s self-improvement program
The concept of virtue describes the moral excellence or good forming the basic tenets and foundation of collective and individual greatness. Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s Founding Fathers initiated the famous self-improvement program that included 13 distinct virtues (Mulford, 2019). According to Franklin, if contemplated and mastered, these virtues could effectively neutralize and eliminate redundant behaviors among individuals. Some of these virtues propagated by Franklin included industry, frugality sincerity, justice, resolution, humility, silence, order, moderation, cleanliness, tranquility, chastity and temperance. The virtues are fundamental in encouraging personal reflections and self-improvements among various individuals (Higgins, 2016). Franklin uses the stipulated dimensions of virtue to take a critical look at his behavior to ascertain whether his life was reflecting the desired societal virtues and behaviors. He was on a noble quest towards attaining moral perfection by living a life free of faults by sticking to his personal improvement program and plan.
Notably, based on the Virtue Quiz (PBS), I believe that I measure up well against Franklin’s virtues. While taking the Virtue Quiz (PBS), I took an honest reflection of my personal shortcoming and strengths. I realized that needed to work on my moderation, humility, and order. However, I realized that I value silence, resolution, industry, frugality, sincerity, justice, cleanliness, tranquility, and chastity. Indeed, based on Franklin’s virtues, I realized that the road towards attaining moral perfection could be turbulent and extremely hard to maneuver. The Virtue Quiz also sparked my new interest in understanding some of the implications virtues on personal ideals. For instance, I wanted to understand by Franklin considered frugality (stinginess) as a virtue in the contemporary societies.
The three Franklin’s virtues that I admire most include silence, order, and tranquility. I can integrate the identified virtues in shaping and strengthening various aspects of my daily life activities. I believe that silence is an important virtue that is effective in controlling my emotional reactions towards different environmental stimuli. I agree with Franklin’s argument that individuals should avoid any form of engagement in a trifling conversation. They should prefer to listen more to conversations and avoid unnecessary interjections. Indeed, I believe that engagement in meaningless conversations can reduce the moral worth of individuals seeking perfection.
Another important virtue stipulated under Benjamin Franklin’s self-improvement program that I value most in my life is order. I resonate with Franklin’s arguments that order is crucial in shaping the behavior and actions of individuals. I like keeping my physical possessions organized and creating time for things that are extremely important to me. Busy personal and professional schedules may prevent individuals from keeping their activities in proper order. Therefore, I believe that downsizing less important things in my life can in streamlining various activities in my life.
The last virtue that I admire under Benjamin Franklin’s self-improvement program is tranquility. I believe that individuals can avoid and mitigate the impacts of certain unexpected events in their lives. The virtue of tranquility further encourages individuals to understand their own emotions and avoid irrational reactions to different situations. Living calm and reasonable lives can encourage proper decision-making processes among individuals. Overall, I believe that I can improve on most of these Franklins virtues by relying on my intellect and other life-related experiences. For instance, I can incorporate other important practices such as meditation, stoicism, and prayer to have a perfect life of silence, order, and tranquility.
Higgins, N. (2016). Achieving Human Perfection: Benjamin Franklin contra George Whitefield. Journal of American Studies, 50(1), 61-80.
Mulford, C. J. (2019). Benjamin Franklin, Virtue, and the Good Life. College Literature, 46(3), 741-750.