By William Kristoph
This is the last post in the Benjamin Franklin series. I’m pleased with it and thanks for reading it. It provided a good basis for 14 posts. Next Friday I’ll start something new.
Wise Up – “Life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.” – Benjamin Franklin
Might I add that we don’t know when our life ends either? Talk about a triple whammy! This final quote in the series is self-explanatory and rings true. We might think we know it all when we’re young, but then we get older and realize we didn’t. It’s a rare person that knows what he or she doesn’t know. It’s even rarer to find a truly wise young person.
As I get older, I figure things out sometimes. As I become a parent, I’m sure that I’m about to find out a ton of topics that I’m horribly uneducated and unwise about. Thankfully, I’ve gained the wisdom to hang back from being arrogant about it and let my ears work about 10 times as much as my mouth. Hopefully, I’ll learn a lot before I get too old to appreciate it.
More importantly, I hope I can instill some of Benjamin Franklin’s point into my son as he grows up. I hope that he’ll have the ability to make wise choices and be open to multiple points of view. I hope that he’s tolerant and caring early on and that he keeps that with him as he grows up. Will it happen? I guess I’ll know in about 20 years, when I’m definitely even older and hopefully a lot wiser.
By William Kristoph
Don’t Give Up – “Energy and persistence conquer all things.” – Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin’s advice is obvious. Keep at it. Keep trying. Wake up, get out in the world and achieve something. It’s not an easy task for most of us. Whether it’s because of working two jobs or something as simple as lack of nutrition and exercise, energy seems to be an ever shrinking commodity in America. We’re a nation of tired people.
I’m sure that when Benjamin Franklin was alive, the nation was tired too, even though it was young. Physical labor was more prevalent and life was physically hard on a day-to-day basis. Somehow, they persevered and willed the United States into a great country. Somehow, the people of this country overcame their weariness and tiredness.
How do we do it today? Would Benjamin Franklin laugh at how easy our life is today, yet we all complain about tired? Or would he understand the different stresses we face on a daily basis, between a 24 hour workday and the strains of life pulling every direction? More importantly, how do we conquer this a bit? I have a few ideas that work for me.
3 Ways To Have More Energy
- Get the right amount of sleep. – It’s easier said than done, because finding 8-9 hours in a 24 hour day to sleep is a tough task.
- Eat better. – I’m not talking anything drastic. Eat a couple of vegetables and you’ll be surprised by how much more energy you have.
- Say no. – Limit the schedule and say no occasionally.
3 Ways To Be Persistent
- Set a reminder. – Set a reminder on a smart phone, to do list or somewhere that you’ll see it.
- Set goals. – It’s hard to be persistent if you don’t have something to achieve. Set a clear goal and keep trying to achieve it.
- Accept failure. – Failures happen. Learn from a failure and apply that knowledge to future goals.
By William Kristoph
Don’t Self-Sabotage – “Who had deceived thee so often as thyself?” – Benjamin Franklin
I’m great. I’m terrible. I can’t do this. I definitely can do that. I’m the best at this. I’m the worst at that. Benjamin Franklin’s quote, on the surface, looks like it’s speaking about negatives. The “I can’t” and the “I won’t” because the word sabotage has a negative connotation. However, self-sabotage isn’t only about knowing negatives it’s about limits overall both negative and positive. It’s about knowing our own boundaries and limits so that we don’t sabotage ourselves. It’s about not lying to ourselves.
I feel like many people fall into a negativity trap. “I’m not good enough to do this.” “I don’t know how to do that.” “I’m too tired.” The list goes on and on. At times it’s easy to get into this type of thinking. It’s easy to say can’t or won’t. But, how many times do we miss out on an opportunity to have fun, to learn or to grow because of some silly self-doubt? How many times do we sabotage ourselves because of laziness? Benjamin Franklin (and all of the Founding Fathers) amaze me with their general positivism and ability to compromise in a time that was full of war, anger and cultural differences.
By William Kristoph
Know Yourself – “There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.” – Benjamin Franklin
We spend our entire lives being ourselves, but how often do other people know us better than we know ourselves? My wife, my parents and some of my friends know me better and understand my emotions or reactions better than I understand. It’s too bad Ben Franklin doesn’t give us a solution to the problem. I wonder if Ben thought he knew himself well, and if he did or if his friends and family would laugh and tell us that he didn’t know either?
How To Know Yourself In 5 Easy Steps
- Me Time – Our lives are very busy, but it is important to take a moment or two each day to clear our minds and our hearts.
- Write – Write a journal, write a poem, write anything. I’m always surprised what flows out of my hands and through a keyboard.
- Move – For me, a long walk heals my mind and soul. For others it might be jogging or playing a sport. We’re meant to move and during that movement we can discover ourselves better.
- Friends – Take a good, long look at the people who surround. Which ones did you choose? What does that say about you?
- Stress – Stress is not always a bad thing. Sometimes the best way to find out new knowledge of yourself is to get through a pressure-packed or stressful situation.
I feel like I know myself pretty well and that I am better acquainted with myself with each passing year. I wonder what my family and friends think though?
By William Kristoph
Keep Going – “Diligence is the mother of good luck.” – Benjamin Franklin
I am a believer in good luck. Occasionally. More often than not though, in my own life and from what I’ve seen in others’ Benjamin Franklin is right. Good luck is really just the summation of a bunch of hard work. How many times do we see a star athlete and think “Wow, he’s so lucky to have that talent?” More often than not, though, a MLB star or an NFL great put in tons of hours of hard work to maximize their talent and create their “good luck.”
The same happens in business. Yes there are a few businesses that succeed for no apparent reason, and there are those that fail despite best efforts. The vast majority that succeed are run well by owners that keep at it. They learn from their failures and they continue to improve their product, restaurant or service. They listen to customers, they’re open to criticism. They work hard.
Perhaps the biggest and best place I can apply Benjamin Franklin’s advice is with my own family. A good family isn’t just good luck. Yes, some of us are born with a seemingly better hand than others, but even the best of family require diligent attention. All too often I’ve seen friends’ families break up from people who don’t want to put in the work. Selfishness is easy and so is taking family for granted since we’re “stuck with them.” Ultimately, a stable family, one that weathers the bad times and truly enjoys the good puts in a lot of work through communication, through effort and through attention.
Benjamin Franklin must have been very hard worker, just like the rest of the Founding Fathers. When studying American History, it seems like there was a lot of “good luck” that Ben and his buddies found. The truth is that what makes this country great are the struggles that helped shaped our government and our laws. Good luck didn’t solely lead to the brilliance behind this country. Tons of hard work did. It’s easy to pass of our own insecurities on another’s good luck. It’s easier to give up. It’s easier to quit. Maybe it’s time we put in more effort, listened for five minutes longer or wrote that post when we didn’t feel like. Maybe our “good luck” that we desire is just one more diligent push away.