Principles of Successful Living
Earl Nightingale

  

In the year 1723, a 17-year-old boy arrived in Philadelphia without a penny to his name.  At the age of 42, he retired, wealthy.  During his lifetime, he also became the country's most outstanding statesman, scientist, and philosopher.  He helped draft the Declaration of Independence and was one of its signers.  He was the first American success of the Horatio Alger variety.  He was, of course, Benjamin Franklin.

Just starting out and deeply in debt, but having an inventive mind, he looked for the essential principles of successful living.  After much thought and study, he devised a method so simple, yet at the same time so practical, that anyone can use it.

He chose 13 principles--13 subjects--that, if he could master them, he felt would lead to the success he sought.  He gave a week's strict attention to each one, so that he could practice the entire list of 13 subjects four times a year.  When he was 79 years old, he wrote more about this idea than anything else that ever happened to him in his entire life--he devoted 15 pages to it--for to this list and the way he practiced it, he felt that he owed all his success and happiness.  He ended by writing, "I hope, therefore, that some of my descendants may follow the example and reap the benefit."

So, if you'd like to be as successful as Ben Franklin, here's his list of 13 principles.  Practice each in order for a week, going through the list four times a year, every year.

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; waste nothing.

Industry:  Lose no time; be always employed 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 extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.

Cleanliness:  Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.

Tranquility:  Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents.

Chastity.

Humility:  Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

No one, before or since, has ever been more successful than Benjamin Franklin.  He gave the credit to that list of 13 principles, each to be practiced in order for a week at a time, so that all of them can become habits.  They'll work as well today as they did then.

  
  


 
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