Benjamin Franklin, has always impressed me as one of the most brilliant people I’ve ever known about. This Sunday, Jan. 17, is the 310th anniversary of his birth. Especially, as of late, he has had tremendous impact on me. Who knew that a quick review of Ben Franklin would offer so much toward better living?
He was interested in so many different things, had successes in areas way outside his early “chosen career” of printing, expanded into world politics and influence, science, and seemed to be curious, engaging, sharing and caring about life in general. I have always believed that life is just too big to live in one tiny space. I, too, have multiple interests, and love to explore the curiosities of life, love, and service.
Our MKMMA class is currently using Ben’s personal improvement plan to take 13 virtues, observe them in others, integrate them into our own personal activities, find them again within ourselves, and make them our own. The class has changed the wording just a bit, to use more modern terminology that incorporates his meaning, but I have found this exercise immensely powerful. We list the virtues, then every day, make a mark for each observation or demonstration of that virtue on which we are focusing, also logging the previous virtues we’ve already explored.
Last week, we each picked one virtue that we felt was the most critical to improve. Some of my classmates had incredible results and findings. I got a small roll going, but this week, ALL of us focused on “Kindness”. We shared daily the specific observations of kindness in our daily lives, chose and carried out random acts of kindness and shared them with each other. I was blown away. Today we topped 6000 entries! That certainly lifted the bar for my vision. I thought I had done pretty good to detect 10 occurrences of my selected virtue on the first week. I don’t believe I was really paying attention, now that I’ve been opened, along with a group of people, to the possibilities of so much more!
Alli Page, on Lifehack.org, has a great summary of Ben Franklin’s wisdom (http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/9-successful-characteristics-embodied-ben-franklin.html). I’m so impressed that our class is working through the same “secret” keys to life.
For example, Ben also had a written plan of action, detailing how he would spend his entire waking day, from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m. He developed his own master mind group and was known as a talented networker. He got way outside the norm in being creative and followed through with ideas that were progressive for their time, including the idea of a new people-driven government … and made it happen! Not bad, Ben! Not bad at all.
Happy Birthday to you, Ben. I’ll celebrate by implementing some of your precious habits. And thanks so much for sharing those with us in YOUR writings.