Sincerity Q3

Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 7, Q3

Sincerity: “Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.”

Personal notes:

  • Such an important one to practice;
  • Especially with friends & family;
  • Be an open book to the ones you love.

When I think of Sincerity, I think of sharing nice thoughts with loved ones. Easy enough but tougher than it sounds. There are times I want to share something nice, but a hand catches the words before they can escape and the words are buried deep below, never to see the light of day.

My kids help me to practice sincerity. They force me to be kind, innocent and just. They remind me to slow down and explain the world; it is still new. Sometimes they cause a fury and I need to catch myself. They are only children after all, there is no reason to be angry; bury the cynic and mirror the innocence.

There’s spillover from dealing with my children; innocence frees what courage cannot. I came across an old photo of my wife holding our first born. My wife looked beautiful and happy. Many times I’ve thought such things and kept them to myself – what a waste. There are so few times when so few words have such a large effect. Share them. 

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Next Week

Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 8, Q3

Justice: “Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.”

Personal notes:

  • Be true to others;
  • Act honorably;
  • Avoid the simple way out.

Honor. It’s an old and antiquated word. One that seems lost to a bygone era. Practice Honor this week.

Industry Q3

Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 6, Q3

Industry: “Lose no time, be always employed in something useful; cutoff unnecessary actions.

Personal notes:

  • Fully engage with what you’re doing; immerse yourself;
  • Shut off distractions;
  • Find fulfillment.

We’re all pretty industrious; even on days when it feels nothing was accomplished. But there are definitely those days when I don’t “cutoff unnecessary actions.” Wednesday was one of those days. I spent all morning creating a music playlist for my girls. I got mad at myself for being “unindustrious” but, in truth, I was happy.

I was happy because I thought about how happy my girls would be – they love music. Besides, what did I really have to accomplish that day? Most of my to-do list was crap (put there to feel industrious). The truly important stuff got taken care of without delay.

All my favorite memories in life were born of industry but were not being industrious. Do I remember what I was supposed to be doing Wednesday morning? No. Do I remember my girls dancing to their music this weekend? You bet. If you spend your days “losing no time,” all your time will be lost. If you’re “always employed in something useful,” when will you have time for life, family, and friends? Be industrious when it matters, but don’t lose sight of the big picture.

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Next Week

Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 7, Q3

Sincerity: “Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

Personal notes:

  • Such an important one to practice;
  • Especially with friends & family;
  • Be an open book to the ones you love.

If there’s a thought stirring in your heart, be sure to share it. Sarcasm and jokes are fun, but say what you mean. Don’t hide your intent because you’re afraid to share.

Frugality Q3

Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 5, Q3

Frugality: “Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; waste nothing.

Personal notes:

  • Only purchase necessary items;
  • Be cognizant of cost;
  • Give special attention to groceries.

Frugality often feels like a choice between living and saving. We save for the future, sometimes at the expense of the present. Why? We have the normal goals: house, retirement, emergency savings; and sometimes these goals cut against the reality of living: bills, food, fun.

Sometimes we’re foolish, and the bills are particularly difficult that month, but life can’t be locked away and saved for a later date; it expires. There is a line between prudence and foolishness. Life is not 401k’s and IRA’s and future sunny days. We can’t sit around dreaming of the afternoons when we’re old, retired, laying on the beach, waiting to die.

Always enough time for money, never enough money for time. I hold fast to that idea and believe the future is bright, but we save to stave off uncertainty, and potential for calamity. We’re pretty lucky. Most people save nothing, because they have nothing. When paying (another) dental bill, it hurts – but it is not the hurt of starvation. The unforeseen expenses, the ups and downs, this is life, and if we have to cut into savings one month, life is worth living.

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Next Week

Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 6, Q3

Industry: “Lose no time, be always employed in something useful; cutoff unnecessary actions.

Personal notes:

  • Fully engage with what you’re doing; immerse yourself;
  • Shut off distractions;
  • Find fulfillment.

In the beginning, I focused exclusively on income when I thought about Industry; that was wrong. Reading, learning, and living are as just important to Industry as working. 

Resolution Q3

Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 4, Q3

Resolution: “Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.”

Personal notes:

  • Determine key tasks this week;
  • Focus on these tasks;
  • Dutifully and purposefully complete each.

Checking each item off my list this week, I successfully cleared the schedule, paid some bills, hit the gym and tied up loose ends, all to great satisfaction and contentment before leaving on vacation. Feeling pretty good, I thought Resolution was a piece of cake. Then, while on vacation, I saw and heard examples of Resolve that made me realize how insignificant my list was.

What would you do if diagnosed with cancer? Without hesitation, my friend’s wife underwent a double mastectomy; resolving to be there for her children. Another good buddy, this one in the military, read me a transcript of a Russian soldier in Syria. All soldiers share a common thread, and my friend choked back tears as the Russian fought until the end, refusing to be disgraced and paraded in his uniform.

Admittedly these examples are extremes; guiding lights in the dark sea of uncertainty. But our lives are sometimes broken down into overwhelming lists and tasks, some important, often not. We work each day to cross items off our list and resolve to muddle through, but at times our lists cloud the truth. Getting the groceries and cleaning the house are not just tasks but in my case, steps to provide love and stability for my children. It’s always important to remember what greater good these tasks serve, and be aware when these tasks become a disservice.

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Next Week

Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 5, Q3

Frugality: “Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; waste nothing.”

Personal notes:

  • Only purchase necessary items;
  • Be cognizant of cost;
  • Give special attention to groceries.

Sadly, summer is gone; on the upside, summer was expensive. Perfect time to practice Frugality and get back into the habit for Fall.

Hope you had a great holiday weekend,

Patrick