What I Learned from Benjamin Frankin

By Tricia Molloy

I’ve always enjoyed the earthy wisdom of Benjamin Franklin, founding father, statesman, inventor, business owner and the man who adorns our hundred dollar bill. After reading “Ben Franklin: America’s Original Entrepreneur,” I shared his list of 13 virtues in my Working with Wisdom enewsletter.

Here are some of the “aha’s!” that I think deserve reflection. Some are common sense reminders and others seem counterintuitive. Which ones resonate with you?

  1. Be frugal.
  2. Speak well of others, even those who caused you misery.
  3. Check references.
  4. Don’t hold a grudge.
  5. Appreciate all your talents.
  6. Be sincere.
  7. Hard Work + Patience = Wealth
  8. Keep reading. (He never graduated from school but instead learned by reading. In fact, he was responsible for establishing the first public library in Philadelphia.) 
  9. Remember the power of the written word to influence others. (He used self-published pamphlets while we might blog.)
  10. Pay attention to appearances. (He made sure that people saw him working early and late at the print shop to show he was dedicated.)
  11. Don’t take all the credit for accomplishments.
  12. Expect (and ask for) even more help from someone who has done you a favor.
  13. Spread the risk with contingency contracts, like matching funds.
  14. When it comes to power and politics, convenience often trumps intelligence. (So make it convenient for others to do what you desire.)
  15. Since hope of gain lessens pain, motivate through rewards and not punishment.
  16. Search hard for the third way when stuck in a dilemma with an opposing party.

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