The Thirteen Virtues

by Benjamin Franklin

In 1726, at the age of 20, Benjamin Franklin created a system to develop his character. In his autobiography, Franklin listed his thirteen virtues as:

  1. Temperance:
    Eat not to dullness. Drink not to elevation.
  2. Silence:
    Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself. Avoid trifling conversation.
  3. Order:
    Let all your things have their places. Let each part of your business have its time.
  4. Resolution:
    Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve.
  5. Frugality:
    Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
  6. Industry:
    Lose no time. Be always employed in something useful. Cut off all unnecessary actions.
  7. Sincerity:
    Use no hurtful deceit. Think innocently and justly; if you speak, speak accordingly.
  8. Justice:
    Wrong none by doing injuries or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  9. Moderation:
    Avoid extremes. Forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  10. Cleanliness:
    Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.
  11. Tranquility:
    Be not disturbed at trifles or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  12. 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.
  13. Humility:
    Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Let no pleasure tempt thee, no profit allure thee, no ambition corrupt thee, no example sway thee, no persuasion move thee, to do any thing which thou knowest to be evil; so shalt thou always live jollily; for a good conscience is a continual Christmas. Adieu.