Virtue and a Successful Life
What does virtue and a successful life have to do with each other?!?
Everybody desires and deserves a successful life. But, few accomplish what they perceive as success. This is because the very definition of success is subjective. A hard-up person may associate success with monetary gain or financial freedom. But, success is not necessarily restricted to money. It can be material or immaterial it depends on you.
Now what is success? Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal. You’ll notice that this definition does not require the actual realization of the goal, but only continual progress in that direction. The work on the way to the goal is what makes one successful. That work is what gives us the sense of accomplishment and self-satisfaction. If you think about it, once a goal is achieved another one will necessarily be created to keep us going in our journey.
When we focus on the progress towards the goal or ideal we notice that a person grows in character on the way there. They become a better version of themselves. This is the value of setting and reaching for goals. The gold is in the growth. For that growth will be the new starting point for the next goal.
13 Virtues of Benjamin Franklin
A young Benjamin Franklin conceived of and lived the rest of his life modelling thirteen virtues. ‘Franklin’s Way: 13 Virtues for a Better Life’, is a small but powerful book that one should read to aid in success. What Benjamin Franklin iterates is not a specific path to financial riches or glory. It is a holistic way to live a fulfilling life. Franklin’s Way lays out the virtues that one must nurture to be truly successful.
The 13 virtues Benjamin Franklin practiced and tried to perfect are temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquility, chastity and humility. Each of these virtues can help a person with the challenges that life presents. Education, money, inter-personal relationships, work-life balance and every other challenge that people are overwhelmed with today can be navigated in a much more efficient and successful way if one hones these 13 virtues.
Franklin’s Way to Success
It is common for people to highlight a single virtue or a good quality in someone else. Virtue is not confined to one characteristic or behavior. It is not one good act performed or one attribute that is worth appreciation, although this is still admirable! For a successful life one must develop a multitude of virtuous behavior that will contribute to a holistic development of one’s character. These virtues facilitate personal growth as well as the development of skills that one would need in any profession.
If you pay close attention to the 13 virtues Ben Franklin practiced, you can observe the correlation between each virtue. Temperance is used in mastering the most basic human needs and thus serves as a strong foundation on which to build the other virtues. Silence and tranquility help us be mindful of the moment and speak only when we can add value to the discussion A strong resolve (resolution) can help us adopt other virtues more easily and further motivates us to perform the tasks necessary to achieve our goals. One can find other associations between each of the virtues as they become more incorporated into daily living.
These virtues are relevant regardless of age, profession, education, financial status and specific goals that anyone would nurture. They can serve as a formidable foundation on which to build a successful life. Check out my book Franklin’s Way: 13 Virtues For A Better Life available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.