The Value of a List

As a young man, Benjamin Franklin resolved to attain the habits of virtue that would lead to success by making a game out of self-improvement.  He wrote thirteen key virtues in a notebook, one to a page, and checked off each instance in the day when he failed in one of them.  He focused intensely on one virtue per week, running through his list four times every year.  His thirteen virtues and goals were as follows:

  • Temperance
  • Silence
  • Order
  • Resolution
  • Frugality
  • Industry
  • Sincerity
  • Justice
  • Moderation
  • Cleanliness
  • Tranquility
  • Chastity
  • Humility

Interestingly, this list is similar to the one the Apostle Paul gives us in Philippians 4:8-9, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you.”

Could a similar list make a difference in our lives today?  I suspect we could each benefit from such a reminder!

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