Benjamin Franklin’s Project(DW #826)
Oct 26, 2020
Some years ago, I came across something which has continued to fascinate and inspire me: Benjamin Franklin’s Moral Perfection Project
Benjamin Franklin, as you may know, started from humble beginnings and rose to become a successful printer, writer, musician, inventor, and, of course, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America.
While we may be aware of Franklin’s life accomplishments, what I find really inspiring is the processes he followed that led to his many accomplishments.
Franklin had a rocky start in life: by his early 20s, he had already failed in twice in business ventures. His personal life was also in trouble and he was raising a son born outside his marriage.
Personally and professionally, Franklin felt unsatisfied and decided to take charge and change the course of his life.
It seems that he realised that while he may not be able to control his life circumstances, he could control how he showed up in the world and what virtue and character traits he nurtured within himself.
And so he embarked on a "Moral Perfection Project" by articulating 13 virtues that he wanted to inculcate within himself for his lofty goal of "attainment of moral perfection":
It was about this time I conceived the bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection. I wished to live without committing any fault at any time; I would conquer all that either natural inclination, custom, or company might lead me into.
Over the next few days, let us explore the Ben Franklin Project and see what lessons we can use in our own lives.
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