Benjamin Franklin was a man of action. Over his lifetime, his curiosity and
writer, publisher, diplomat, inventor and one of the Founding Fathers of the
United States. Self-development was a constant endeavor throughout his
incredible life. Here are his 20 Must-Read Timeless Lessons:
Lesson # 1 : Less Talk, More Action
We all know people who constantly talk about the things they are going to
do but rarely ever take that first step. Eventually people begin to question
their credibility. Taking action and seeing the task through to completion is
the only way to get the job done.
“Well done is better
than well said.”
Lesson # 2 : Don’t Procrastinate
Benjamin Franklin was not a man hung up on procrastination. He was a
man with clear measurable goals who worked hard to turn his vision
into reality. What are you putting off till tomorrow that could make a
difference in your life today?
“Never leave that till
tomorrow which you
can do today.”
Lesson # 3 : Be Prepared
You need a plan to accomplish your goals. Charging in without giving
any thought to the end result and how to achieve it, is a sure way to
fall flat on your face. Think like a boy scout. Have a realistic plan of
attack and a systematic approach for getting where you need to be.
“By failing to prepare, you are
preparing to fail.”
Lesson # 4 : Don’t Fight Change
Change is inevitable. The stronger we fight against it, the more time and
energy it consumes. Give up the fight. Focus on proactively making positive
changes, instead of having change merely thrust upon you. Wherever
possible, try to view change as a positive instead of a negative.
“When you're finished changing,
Lesson # 5 : Get Moving
There’s a reason we use the expression, movers and shakers. Movers are
the ones who take action, the people who get things done, while the
immovable are sitting around scratching their heads wondering how others
could possibly be so successful. Which group do you want to belong to?
“All mankind is divided into three classes:
those that are immovable, those that are
movable, and those that move.”
Lesson # 6 : Avoid Busywork
We are always running around doing things. We rush from one meeting
or event to the next, sometimes without achieving a great deal. At the
end of the day, how much of our busywork are we proud of? Make your
motion mean something. Focus now.
“Never confuse motion with action.”
Lesson # 7 : Give Yourself Permission to Make Mistakes
If we fear making mistakes, we become scared to try new things. Fear
leaves us nestled in our comfort zone. Staying in your comfort zone rarely
leads to greatness. Taking risks and giving yourself permission to make
mistakes, will lead you to whatever your version of success may be.
“Do not fear mistakes. You will know
failure. Continue to reach out.”
Lesson # 8 : Act Quickly on Opportunities
Opportunities are everywhere. The trick is being quick enough and
smart enough to seize them when they arise. Instead of jumping to the
conclusion that something won’t work or can’t be done, allow yourself
the freedom to ask what if?
jump as quickly
as you do at
Lesson # 9 : Continue to Grow
We all have vices of some description. The key is to keep them under
control or preferably eradicate them entirely. Be kind to those around
you, whether they are neighbors, family, co-workers or friends. Never
accept that you have finished growing as a person.
“Be at war with your vices, at peace
with your neighbors, and let every
new year find you a better man.”
Lesson # 10 : Keep Going
Have you ever looked at a successful entrepreneur and thought how lucky
they are? Most of the time, luck has nothing to do with it. Hard work and
sacrifice on the other hand have everything to do with it. Successful people
deal with failure. They tackle their demons head on. They pick themselves
up and keep going.
“Diligence is the mother of good luck.”
Lesson # 11 : Know Yourself
Sometimes we just don’t want to see ourselves for who we really are. It’s
much easier to hold onto a romanticized version of ourselves or to simply
view ourselves through other people’s eyes. Start by being brutally honest
with yourself. Follow through with understanding, compassion and acceptance.
“There are three things extremely hard:
steel, a diamond, and to know one's self.”
Lesson # 12 : Don’t Self-Sabotage
If you are using negative self-talk, lying to yourself or indulging in
addictive behavior you are self-sabotaging. Life can dish up enough
challenges without us adding to the mix. Be kind to yourself. Treat
yourself like you would a best friend.
“Who had deceived thee
so often as thyself?”
Lesson # 13 : Don’t Give Up
There will be days when you want to give up. There will be times when
your energy levels flat line and you wonder why you bother getting out of
bed. Yet you push forward, day after day because you believe in yourself
and you have the determination and strength to back up that belief.
“Energy and persistence
conquer all things.”
Lesson # 14 : Wise Up
Benjamin was definitely onto something with this one. Who hasn’t had the
thought - I wish I could know then, what I know now? Unfortunately there
is no time machine; there is no going back. The key is to wise up as early
as you can to start forging a life of purpose, achievement and happiness.
“Life's tragedy is that we get old
too soon and wise too late.”
Lesson 15 : Time is Money
Your time is your life. If you waste your time, you are wasting your life. I’ve
never met a successful person who didn’t value their time. Don’t let other
people waste your time either, why is it when someone wants to “kill an
hour,” they want to kill your hour as well? Protect your time, it can never be
replaced, it can never be replenished, your time is your life.
"Do not squander time for that is the stuff life is made of."
Lesson 16 : Make an Impression
Benjamin Franklin said, “Many people die at twenty five and aren't
buried until they are seventy five.” I hope you’re not dead, I hope you
haven’t achieved all that you’re going to achieve; I hope your best days
are in front of you. I think they are.
“If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either
write something worth reading or do things worth writing.”
Lesson 17 : Accept Full Responsibility For Your Life
What you do with your life is your choice. Ben Franklin’s path was tougher
than most, but he didn’t let excuses slow him down. Never accept any
excuse for your problems, even if your excuse is “a good one.” Excuses
make you look and feel weak and reveal a lack of control over your life.
“Having been poor is no shame, but being ashamed of it, is.”
Lesson 18 : Expect The Best
High expectations enable you to reach your potential. Benjamin lived
as if things would work out for him as long as he kept moving forward.
“Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen.
Keep in the sunlight.”, said Benjamin.
“While we may not be able to control all that happens
to us, we can control what happens inside us.”
Lesson 19 : To Persuade People, Take Egos Out Of The Equation
Take care not to threaten another’s ego, and they will consider your
words. Being a skilled debater, Ben Franklin could usually get people to
agree with him using intellectual force, but he found that people were
easier to persuade if he claimed appearance over fact.
“The modest way in which I propos’d my opinions procur’d them a readier reception and less
contradiction; I had less mortification when I was found to be in the wrong, and I more easily prevail’d
with others to give up their mistakes and join with me when I happened to be in the right.”
Lesson 20 : Laugh
Laugh early, laugh often, and laugh loudly unless they’re sleeping upstairs.
Having a sense of humor has several life benefits. It lowers stress levels,
makes you more likable, breaks down social barriers. And if you have the
perfect life on paper, but don’t have fun doing it, what’s the point?
“We are all born ignorant, but one
must work hard to remain stupid.”
“It takes many good deeds to
build a good reputation, and
only one bad one to lose it.”
- Benjamin Franklin
Thank You Very Much
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