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Inspirational Lessons for Self-Improvement from a Founding Father

Posted on 10 June 2017 by sam

A recent study classified two different types of behaviour people take on when produced with critical feedback. First, there are the Provers. These people tend to attempt to justify their current state with excuses and rationalization. Whether or not those defenses hold any weight, these people are trying to “prove” that they are fine as they are. The second group contains the Improvers. These people, no matter how qualified they already are, take a close look at themselves and try to find ways a situation can help them become better.

The Founding Father Benjamin Franklin is perhaps the most famous “Improver” in history likely due to the prolific documentation we have on his methods and philosophies for improvement. He attempted to cultivate habits for holistic self-improvement throughout his entire life.

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin

Not surprisingly, Franklin was an avid reader. When he decided he wanted to become a better writer as well, he made up exercises for practice and committed to studying famous authors.

Franklin was renowned for his writing, but his methods can be applied to any skill and individuals often see success when focused on honing personal strengths, whether those be essay writing like Franklin or the chemistry of beauty products like Ida Gál-Csisza.

Don’t simply rely on being “good enough” at something. Analyze methods and disciplines to help you improve and learn more about your greatest skills. There is no ceiling for excellence, so continue to improve your education by any means necessary, find unique areas of interest and do your research to be sure you’re landing yourself in the right courses to provide the most fruitful learning experiences possible.  

“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise.” – Benjamin Franklin

Often remembered as a scholar, Franklin should also be remembered as a strong proponent of physical self-care. He made certain to exercise frequently and eat well, even becoming a vegetarian for health and thrift. An avid swimmer in a time where most of the population did not know how to swim, Franklin was posthumously inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1968.

He believed that productivity improved as health improved, an attitude that remains relevant as more and more americans are affected by diseases of affluence like obesity or back pain due to inactive lifestyles. While modern medicine goes a long way, even today many doctors recommend lifestyle changes to deal with chiropractic or health issues.

“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.” – Benjamin Franklin

From his heavy involvement in the ideology of the birth of the United States, it is fitting that Franklin was invested in cultivating moral character. And not only on a nationwide scale, but personally as well. A bit of a scoundrel in his youth, Franklin bemoaned that he learned the wisdom of morality so late in his life. At least, late from his perspective. There many who go through life with little thought to their personal morality at all.

Not satisfied with other systems of morals at the time, Franklin codified his own list of 13 virtues he strived to uphold. At the end of every week, we would look back and judge how well he did hoping to practice and improve.

While the specifics of improvement areas and methods will vary from individual to individual, Benjamin Franklin stands as a shining role model for any who wish to carry on the path of improvement.