Ben Franklin on Self Discipline

An article from “Business Insider” was brought to my attention.  It was penned by Thea Easterby last April and titled “14 Lessons From Benjamin Franklin About Getting What You Want In Life” — to see the original article click here.

Ben Franklin had a great wit and a sharp mind.  While I might take some of his advice with a grain of salt, his quotes help to get us thinking about our day to day lives and what we could do differently.

Here’s a summary of the 14 Franklin quotes and a modern translation offered by the article:

  1. “Well done is better than well said.” — Less Talk, More Action.  Telling people about what you might do, want to do or could do doesn’t get the job done.  For instance, if you would like to become recognized as an Eagle Scout, make a plan and then do the work.
  2. “Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.” — Don’t Procrastinate.  Set goals, but then work to get them done with a sense of urgency.  If you’ve got time left over at the end of the day, then develop a habit of doing a little bit more instead of taking a break.  If you can’t get more done on your own project right now, help someone else with their tasks.
  3. “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” — We need to have a gameplan or blueprint of what we’re trying to accomplish.  Without this, we could end up failing to complete anything of consequence.  Yogi Berra once said; “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up someplace else.
  4. “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” — Don’t fight change, it’s going to happen.  People like things to be predictable and comfortable.   When requirements change mid-stream, or you have to redouble your work to meet a tighter time frame it can be uncomfortable.  Learn to cope with changes — they’re going to happen when you least expect them.
  5. “All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move.” — Get moving.  Success comes from hardwork, action and innovation.  Creativity happens when you’re zipping around meeting new people and testing new ideas.  This doesn’t mean we throw out core truths, but we can keep our eyes open to make new connections.
  6. “Never confuse motion with action” — Avoid busywork.  Sometimes people who don’t know what to do, do anything at all so that they look very busy.  Unfortunately, they make little (if any) progress towards their goals.
  7. “Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out.” — Give yourself permission to make mistakes.  We can’t let fear of a genuine mistake keep us from trying new things — innovation comes from testing for new ways of doing things.
  8. “To succeed, jump as quickly at opportunities as you do at conclusions.” — Act quickly on opportunities.  When the troop announces a trip, merit badge program or other event, be ready to commit to the program so you don’t lose a spot at the table.
  9. “Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.” — Keep growing as a person of character.  Self control takes practice, but the payoff is growth.
  10. “Diligence is the mother of good luck.” — Keep pushing, don’t give up easily.
  11. “There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.” – Know yourself:  your capabilities, your limits and your convictions.
  12. “Who had deceived thee so often as thyself?” — Don’t self-sabotage.  We often get caught up in day dreams about what we could do instead of staying focused on tasks at hand.  When we pursue our responsibilities urgently, we have our best chance at success.
  13. “Energy and persistence conquer all things.” — Don’t give up.  If at first you don’t succeed  try, try, try, try again.
  14. “Life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.” — Wise up.  We learn from our experiences, wins and losses, but it often feels (to an older, wiser person) that they wish they had all of this wisdom while they were younger and could have accomplished so much more — talk to older people and listen to what they’ve been through — each mistake you avoid will help you get more done in less time.

I’d imagine you may have heard some of these quotes before, and I hope you enjoyed the synopsis of the article.  I found myself smiling and chuckling at most of them — especially when I think about how poorly I apply those principles at times.

What do you think?  Would Ben have made a good scout?


About Troop113

Our Troop # comes from Psalm 1:1-3 - describing the men we want our scouts to become
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One Response to Ben Franklin on Self Discipline

  1. Pingback: Cryptoquote Spoiler – 03/23/13 | Unclerave's Wordy Weblog

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