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“Whatever circumstances you were born into, whatever family life and education you had or didn’t have, you came here to make your dreams come true, and no matter where you are now, you are fully equipped with everything you need to do it.” – Rhonda Byrne Hero
Benjamin Franklin was twenty when he laid out his 13 virtues (1726) which he wrote to cultivate strong character. Practicing these 13 virtues in some form until his death in 1790, his resolute determination to adhere to his core principles undoubtedly aided him as he chartered the path he carved for himself and are in part why American history holds him in such high regard. Here is a look at the list of 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; i.e., waste nothing.”
- “Industry. Lose no time; be always employ’d 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, cloaths, or habitation.”
- “Tranquility. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.”
- “Chastity. Rarely use venery 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.”
What Franklin should remind us all of is that we too, with determination and clarity, can charter the path we wish to create for ourselves. We too can navigate the wind and the currents of life to propel us towards our desired destination.
A horrific storm which may seem to throw us off course can in actuality catapult us to better waters if we learn the proper lessons along the way. Whether we are given an inflatable dinghy or a grand yacht to make our journey, we can turn our dreams into reality.
Those who feel an unfair hand has been dealt them may need to rely on more creative means to acquire a safer vessel but imagine the skills garnered along the way. Those skills will forever be with those of us who have had to scratch and claw to get where we wish to go, and it is those skills that can strengthen our foundation and potentially exceed our initial dreams.
So long as you have a sound mind to absorb knowledge, a voice to ask questions and ears to gather information, you can weather Mother Nature’s turbulent moments and come to appreciate the pearls gathered up along the way that will serve as stepping stones to lead you to where you want to go.
As Steve Jobs reminded Stanford graduates in 2005, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.” In the meantime, never waste an opportunity to learn something new, gain new knowledge or feed your curiosity. Life has a funny way of answering our wishes, but we first have to be willing to step forward and ask the questions.
Have a beautiful and courageous Monday everyone.
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