This is part one of a multi-part series which discusses a method Ben Franklin used to develop his character as a man. Today I’ll go over the first two: Temperance and Order. Franklin provided a quick explanation that I’ll provide as well as my own interpretation, as well as how to employ the virtue in your life, and how it relates to red pill theory as a whole.
Virtue 1: Temperance
Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation
We can start by taking this literally. A fat slob of a man who eats crap all day shows lack of control. A drunk who is shitfaced all the time shows the same. As a man who should be eating right and exercising, keeping this stuff in check should be something you’re all doing. Granted, us guys bulking while weightlifting need to consume a ton of calories to build muscle, but eating an entire chocolate cake is not the solution.
Examining this further, I believe that almost anything to excess can be an issue if it begins to consume your life. Food, alcohol, video games, porn, even taking so much time chasing pussy that you neglect to take care of yourself (I’ve seen it before) can be a bad thing. In the end, as long as you are in control of whatever it is you’re doing, you’ll be okay.
One part of this I like is that Franklin says that you can do these things, just know your limits. An occasional beer with your friend on the weekend or a stogie with your father isn’t going to kill you and I actually highly encourage things like this. Hell, some diet programs call for a cheat meal where you CAN eat a half a pizza if you want to. In the end, keeping your vices in check is a good thing, and if you are having trouble kicking a bad habit, I recommend you read up on a certain physical and mental training program we have here at A Kings Castle. (shameless plug)
Virtue 2: Order
Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time
One of the biggest things I’ve developed in my life recently is the desire to keep things in order as best I can. This starts with objects and areas I am in often. My desk is kept neat and clean. My tools all have their place in the tool box. I clean the trash out of my car weekly.
The way i see it, making sure I know my shit is where it belongs when I need it, and that my surrounding area doesn’t look like a chaotic shit hole helps me focus on other tasks, and gives me peace of mind to do so.
The latter part of this virtue is equally important. Makes me recall a story which I don’t remember where it came from but it applies here. I’ll recall it the best I can:
A farmer went out to milk to the cow but noticed the latch on the gate was broken. As he went over to fix it, he realized there was a hole in the barn roof, as he climbed the ladder he realized the hogs needed to be fed, as he walked over to feed the pigs, he realized it was getting dark and he had no milk, a broken fence, a hole in the roof and hungry pigs.
Maybe not 100% verbatim, but the idea is still there. Our farmer didn’t dedicate enough time to completing one task and tried to start each of them at once. If he devoted his time to completing each task one by one, he’d be in a better position. Getting 4/5 tasks 100% done beats getting 5/5 0% done.
Part of this carries over into telling people “No” when they ask you something. Our world is so conditioned to just agree with every request people make of us. The problem there is the fact that you give your word to do something, but when the time comes up you either forget it, or rush through it and royally screw things up.
Telling someone, even someone higher up the food chain at work “I can’t look at this until tomorrow” or ” I wont have time until later to do x” saves you from liability, as long as you do it when you said you will. Granted, there are things you simply have to handle right away, but making time for things and mapping them out is crucial to eliminating many of those fires.
This even applies to things like exercise, study, reading, hobbies etc. I feel that you need to make time for things you want to accomplish in life, and rather than say “I’ll workout tomorrow night” or “I’ll brush up on that topic on Saturday”, actually schedule it. Say “I’m working out at 4:00 tomorrow” or “I’m going to study from 12:00 until 3:00 Saturday before I go out.” This has helped me keep on track with the personal goals in my life as well as the career and family obligations I have.
Today we reviewed Virtue 1 and 2 of Franklin’s 13 Daily Virtues. We must control our vices and our habits, lest they control us. Having the ability to know your limits and when to say no is crucial. We also learned about the benefits of keeping your things orderly and clean, as well as devoting yourself to what you’re doing, and not half-assing your duties. Leave a comment on your in sights and questions about today’s virtues. The next update will tackle the next three Virtues: Resolution, Frugality, and Moderation.