Franklin's 13 Governing Values


Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.

2. SILENCE. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
3. ORDER. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
4. RESOLUTION. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
5. FRUGALITY. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
6. INDUSTRY. Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
7. SINCERITY. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
8. JUSTICE. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
9. MODERATION. Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
10. CLEANLINESS. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
11.TRANQUILLITY. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
12. 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.
13. HUMILITY. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Benjamin Franklin placed each of the thirteen virtues on a separate page in a little book, which he
carried with him for more than fifty years.  Each day, he evaluated his performance.  Each week he
selected one of the virtues as a point of special focus, concentrating his attention on the selected trait
for seven days. Did Franklin feel that his focus on his governing values was helpful?  He wrote in his
autobiography, "I always carried my little book with me. ...and it may be well my posterity should be
informed that to this artifice, with the blessing of God, their ancestor owes the constant felicity of his
life down to his seventy-ninth year, in which this is written".

Other Sources
Benjamin Franklin's 13 Virtues     Site 2   Site 3   Site 4

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