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
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.
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."
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,
Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid
Let all your things have their places; let each part of
your business have its time.
Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail
what you resolve.
Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself;
Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut
off all unnecessary actions.
Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly; and if
you speak, speak accordingly.
Wrong none by doing injuries or omitting the benefits that
are your duty.
Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you
think they deserve.
Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.
Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents.
Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
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.