Franklin On Accomplishing Virtues
- For the sake of clearness, I proposed to myself to use somewhat more names, with fewer ideas annexed to each, than a few names with more ideas. I included under thirteen names of virtues all that at that time occurred to me as necessary or desirable. I annexed to each a short precept, which fully expressed the extent I gave to its meaning.
- I judged it would be well not to distract my attention by attempting the whole at once but to fix it on one of them at a time. When I master them, then proceed to another, and so on, till I should have gone through the thirteen. The previous acquisition of some might facilitate the acquisition of others.
- I made a little book in which I allotted a page for each of the virtues. I ruled each page with red ink to have seven columns, one for each day of the week, marking each column with a letter for the day. I crossed these columns with thirteen red lines, marking each line's beginning with the first letter of one of the virtues. On that line, and in its proper column, I might mark every fault I found upon examination to have been committed, respecting that virtue.
- I determined to give a week's strict attention to each of the virtues successively. In the first week, my guard avoided every offence against Temperance, leaving the other virtues to their ordinary chance, only marking every evening the day's faults. If I could keep my first line, marked T, clear of spots in the first week, I supposed the habit of that virtue so much strengthened and the opposite weakened. Then I might venture to extend my attention to include the next, and for the following week, keep both lines clear of spots.
- After a while, I went through one course only in a year, and afterwards only one in several years, till at length I omitted them entirely.
Franklin On Becoming Wealthy
- If you would be wealthy, think of saving as well as of getting.
- Women and wine, game and deceit, make the wealth small and the want great.
- Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.
- In short, if you desire it, the way to wealth is as plain as the way to market. It depends chiefly on two words: industry and frugality. Waste neither time nor money, but make the best use of both. He that gets all he can honestly, and saves all he can, will indeed become rich.
- Not to oversee workers is to leave them your purse open.
- Diligence is the mother of good luck, and God gives all things to industry.
- Fools make feasts, and wise men eat them.
Franklin On Counselling
- Those that will not get counselled cannot get helped.
- If you do not hear reason, she will surely rap your knuckles.
- Be not uncharitable to those that at present seem to want it, but comfort and help them.
- As I knew or thought I knew, what was right and wrong, I did not see why I might not always do the one and avoid the other.
Franklin On God
- God helps them that help themselves.
- Conceiving God to be the fountain of wisdom, I thought it right and necessary to solicit his assistance for obtaining it. To this end, I formed the following little prayer, which got prefixed to my tables of examination for daily use. "O powerful Goodness! Bountiful Father! Merciful Guide! Increase in me that wisdom which discovers my truest interest! Strengthen my resolutions to perform what that wisdom dictates. Accept my kind offices to thy other children as the only return in my power for thy continual favours to me."
- In this world's affairs, men are saved, not by faith, but by its want.
Franklin On Money
- Remember that credit is money.
- Remember that money is of a prolific generating nature.
- Rather go to bed supperless than in debt.
- Think about what you do when you run into debt: you give another power over your liberty.
- The second vice is lying; the first is running into debt.
- Lying rides on debt's back.
- Creditors have better memories than debtors.
- Save while you may: no morning sun lasts a whole day.
- If he knows not how to save as he gets, a man may keep his nose all his life to the grindstone and die not worth a groat at last.
- If you would know the value of money, go and try to borrow some.
- Gain may be temporary and uncertain, but the expense is constant and inevitable ever while you live.
Franklin On Pride
- Pride is as loud a beggar as want and a great deal saucier.
- Pride that dines on vanity sups on contempt.
- What use is this pride of appearance, for which so much gets risked, so much gets suffered? It cannot promote health or ease pain; it makes no increase in the person's merit; it creates envy; it hastens misfortune.
Franklin On Productivity
- Drive thy business, let not that drive thee; early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.
- Plough deep while sluggards sleep, and you shall have corn to sell and to keep.
- A man of tolerable abilities may make significant changes and accomplish great affairs among humankind. But, only if he forms a good plan and then executes that plan as his sole study and business.
- A life of leisure and a life of laziness are two different things.
Franklin On Self-Improvement
- There are no gains without pains.
- We may make these times better if we better ourselves.
- Like him, who, having a garden to weed, does not attempt to eradicate all the harmful herbs at once. It would exceed his reach and his strength. He works on one of the beds at a time.
- He that hath a trade hath an estate, and he that hath a calling hath an office of profit and honour.
- At the working man's house, hunger looks in but dares not enter.
- Want of care does us more damage than want of knowledge.
- Vessels large may venture more, but little boats should keep near shore.
- I am, as ever, thine to serve thee.
- It is easier to suppress the first desire than to satisfy all that follow it.
Franklin On Thirteen Virtues
- 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.
- Tranquillity. Be not disturbed at trifles or accidents common or unavoidable.
- Chastity. Use the sex urge, but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
- Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
Franklin On Time
- If dost thou love life, then don't squander time.
- We are taxed twice as much by our idleness. Three times as much by our pride. And four times by our folly.
- The sleeping fox catches no poultry.
- What we call enough time always proves little enough.
- He that riseth late must trot all day and shall scarce overtake his business at night. Laziness travels so slowly that poverty soon overtakes him.
- One today is worth two tomorrows.
- Never leave till tomorrow, which you can do today.
- Employ thy time well, if thou meanest to gain leisure; and since thou art not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour.
- Remember that time is money.