Around ten days ago, I began my journey of moral perfection. I picked the virtues tranquility, silence, moderation, patience, and contentment. When practicing these virtues, I found one virtue, in particular, to be the most beneficial. This virtue was moderation. I had an interesting comment from one of my peers that I would like to expand on. He said that he found it unusual that most of my efforts were being put towards allowing myself to become more relaxed. However, as I am supposed to better my life, and by extension, the lives of those around me, I think relaxing is more important than it seems. Focusing on these virtues allowed me to really become introspective about my life, and choose the best and most productive paths for myself going forward.
If I am reflecting on my journey honestly, I would have to say that I struggled to practice these virtues more than I could have imagined. The virtue that I found to be the most difficult was patience. Patience was difficult to record and remember. I selected patience because sometimes I think that I am a bit brash and unwilling to learn from others. Being patient was important to me so that I could really listen and gain new knowledge and insight from others. Although I feel like I improved, I still had a hard time remembering to be patient with others on my busy days. I am planning to continue to practice this virtue as I did find some success in it. My belief is that I will become more open-minded and an active listener if I continue practicing patience.
Although I saw many improvements in all of my virtues, I found that my greatest success was in moderation. As a busy person, moderation allowed me to slow down and really begin to take time to enjoy people and activities that make me happy. I now try to add moderation into my schedule each day, and honestly, I feel much more joy in my life than I had in a long time. This happiness has spread to every corner of my life making even the most menial tasks enjoyable.
Overall, I found my progress with these virtues to not be exactly what I wanted, but to still be a success. I am very proud of how hard I worked on focusing on my virtues, even in my busy life. The recorded progress has provided me with more insight into my life and the things that I need to incorporate in my life to bring me joy and peace. I never thought that I would be proud of being a “speckled ax,” or someone who is content with not achieving perfection, but practicing new things take patience and time, and now I am beginning to see the good side of both.
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
Today is the last day of blogging! I am honestly pretty happy with my progress so far. It has been difficult, but I feel like I have really gained some insight about the things in my life that are going well, and the possible new habits I should introduce into my everyday schedule.
Once again, I am changing the format of my blog to better suit my day and the virtues that I practiced. I have had such a hectic week that it has felt difficult to keep up with my blog. Today, I really just want to focus on moderation. I have two big tests coming up tomorrow and one practice tonight for basketball. I am planning on getting most of my homework out of the way during the day today, so I can have more time to focus on studying later. I hope that by doing this, I won’t be up as late studying and I can get a better night’s sleep before my tests tomorrow.
Once again, I am preparing for a very busy day, so I am planning on focusing on certain virtues more than others. These virtues will be moderation, patience, and silence.
Tranquility: 3: Although I am not journaling today, I have found that I am keeping in mind my journal from Sunday. If I am feeling stressed out about something in the future, or something that I can’t control, I think back to what I wrote down and crossed off over the weekend. I am suprised to see that this is helping!
Silence: 3: I am trying to get my homework done early today because I go straight from school to basketball tryouts, and then onto soccer practice. I am hoping that by doing this, I will be able to have time later to myself.
Moderation: 3: Today will be another busy day. I probably will not get home again until around 7pm. Despite being busy, I am trying to get work done early that way later, I have time to do something that I enjoy. I am hoping that this plan will work.
Patience: 3: So far, I have been fairly good at staying patient today. In math, on questions that I did not understand, I asked for help and really waited and listened during the explanation. Sometimes, I try to rush through my work, to get it done instead of really trying to understand the material. I think this change will really help me.
Contentment: 1: I did not journal today, nor did I really think much about contentment.
After yesterday, I tried to focus more on certain virtues like silence and moderation. Since I had such a busy day yesterday, I thought those would be most beneficial. Honestly, I would say none of my other virtues for today have achieved above a 2/5, and I am okay with it. I think that by really focusing on moderation and silence today, I will have a more positive outcome.
Silence:5: By getting homework out of the way early, I believe that I will be able to have some time later to myself. This week has already been so busy with school, soccer, and basketball, so I am really looking forward to a little time to relax.
Moderation:3: Today has not been my best day for moderation, but it has definitely been an improvement from yesterday. I am hoping that by getting my homework out of the way, tryouts out of the way, and completing my ACT tutoring, I will hopefully have time later tonight to enjoy with my family.
Tranquility: 4: I felt like tranquility today has gone better than it usually does. I was able to come up with a good list of things that I was willing to make peace with, and just writing my thoughts down made me feel calm.
Silence: 1: I was so busy today that I never got a chance to take a few minutes of silence to myself. I am hoping to find time this week, especially since it is busier than usual, to relax.
Moderation: 1: I was disappointed with my moderation for today since I felt like I have been making significant progress with this virtue. However, I am not really sure if I could have moderated my time any better today. I went from school to basketball tryouts, to soccer, and now, finally home to do homework. I think I might try to get some more homework out of the way, that way I have less to do later in the week. Hopefully, this will give me more time to do something that I enjoy!
Patience: 2: With such a hectic day, I honestly felt like I never had time to be patient. However, I felt like I was, hopefully, patient with others.
Contentment: 4: I feel like I have been making good progress with contentment. I journaled again today, and once more, I am finding that I am content with more things in my life than I have ever thought before.
“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”
My formatting for today will be a little different, as I really tried to focus on one virtue I felt I have been lacking in, which is patience.
With this being said, I would rate my contentment for today a 2/5, my silence a 5/5, my moderation a 4/5, and my tranquility a 2/5. My contentment and tranquility are a little lower as I did not journal, but I tried to think of them throughout the day. However, I did feel as though I mostly achieved my goals for moderation and silence.
As for patience, I would rate today a 4/5. I visited my dad’s work today to continue a project, and although not everything went as I had planned, I felt as though I was more patient with others than I usually am when I get irritated. With my virtues in mind, I really tried to be mindful of the things I said, and how they would make others feel. Instead of rushing into a solution, I talked with others first to come up with the best course of action. I ended up getting a good result, and it is starting to make me realize just how valuable patience can be.
“He that would live in peace & at ease, Must not speak all he knows or judge all he sees.”
Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1736
(I think of that quote for patience. Hopefully, it can help you too).
Tranquility: 3: I feel like my tranquility improved from yesterday. I continued my journal and I was able to find more things that I am willing to make peace with.
Silence: 5: Today, I took time to just hang out and relax for a moment. I sat in my room quietly for around 15 minutes. I was really stressed about my schedule for tomorrow, and being able to sit and relax helped me to calm down a bit. I have found this virtue to be really helpful towards my mental health and overall productivity.
Moderation: 5: Today was a great day! I woke up, met friends for breakfast, attended the powderpuff game to cheer on other friends, cleaned my room, talked with my sister, did homework, and went and saw a movie with my parents. (I would say The Eternals was okay, but the surprise at the end is the best ;)). I felt like I was really productive, but I also enjoyed what I did.
Patience: 3: I feel like I am slowly becoming more patient with others. I noticed it a little throughout the day today when I was talking to a friend of my parents, and when I was really focusing on what others had to say at another event today.
Contentment: 4: I am very proud of the progress I am making with contentment. Progressively, each day I am adding more and more things to my journal. Feel free to read!
Tranquility: 3: I wanted to focus more on my journaling for contentment and tranquility today. I was able to pick my journal back up, but I still struggled to find things that I am okay making peace with.
Silence: 1: As I was more focused on tranquility and contentment today, I honestly forgot about taking some time of silence for myself. I was busy today, and I almost felt like I kind of had a one-track mind. I hope I can find some time to take this weekend!
Moderation: 2: My moderation wasn’t great today. I had a stressful day at school, and then I came home and did more homework. This weekend, hopefully, I can take time to enjoy my own hobbies.
Patience: 2: I did not really focus on patience today. I did feel like I was a little quieter than usual, but I didn’t feel any improvement.
Contentment: 4: I continued my contentment journal today and was surprised to find that my list keeps growing! I hope I can continue this trend, as it really shows me just how many things in my life are going well!
Tranquility: 1: I did not keep up with my journal today. I am hoping to get back on track when I have more time this weekend.
Silence: 5: Today we had late start. Since I had a little bit of extra time today, I was able to take some time to myself this morning. It was nice to wake up and not be in a rush. It also allowed me to have a better mindset for the rest of the day.
Moderation: 3: I did a relatively okay job with moderation today. I went to school, and to workout after school, but later I was able to find time to watch a show with my mom. I think it helped me to be more productive with my homework later.
Patience: 2: I don’t think I did a great job with patience today. I was wanting to get all of my work done quickly, and I think I applied my productiveness to people. If they were taking to long to answer, then I would sometimes answer for them, or talk over them. I’m hoping to really improve this virtue.
Contentment: 1: I did not journal today. I am hoping to catch back up on my journaling this weekend.
Tranquility: 1: I felt too stressed today to really think about making peace with any of my outside stressors. There was not much I could think of that I was willing to let go.
Silence: 1: I did not make time to allow me to have ten minutes of silence today. My day was busy, once again, and I wasn’t sure how to fit it in with everything else. Tomorrow, I might try taking a moment to myself in the morning.
Moderation: 2: Today, I mostly only did school and soccer. I was too busy with these things to take time for me to enjoy other aspects of my life besides having dinner with some of my family. The dinner was nice, but I would have liked more time to spend with my family.
Patience: 3: Today, I was more mindful of my words, and listened better when other people were talking. I specifically practiced patience today when talking to another student during lunch. They mentioned a project they were doing in one of my classes. I initially made a comment, with little to no knowledge about the topic, but after realizing this mistake, I listened to their explanation. After their explanation, I realized that my first thought was a misconception. This really helped to show me the value of patience.
Contentment: 1: I had some ideas in mind for contentment, however, today I did not journal. I felt like I had too much other work that needed to come before taking the time to write. I think I am going to start keeping a list wherever I go, of anything I think of, throughout the day, on my phone. This might help me to better think about contentment during my day, and really make progress with this virtue.
“What more valuable than Gold? Diamonds. Than Diamonds? Virtue.”
Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1751
In 1726, Benjamin Franklin designed a system of virtues in hopes of achieving moral perfection. Tonight, I will follow in his footsteps. Upon discovering that perfection is not the actions of good and bad, or that it is not black and white, Franklin found it difficult to monitor his progress. He created a list of virtues and a system of organization to help him perfect his daily life. Although I am no inventor, entertainer, nor diplomat, I will attempt his lifelong work to achieve moral perfection in the span of two weeks. As a part of my self-journey, I have decided to adopt five virtues that I will be using to try and achieve Franklin’s idea of ‘moral perfection.’ Through the use of a blog system, I will document my progress with the virtues I have chosen that will best represent the parts of myself that I would like to improve.
The five virtues that I have selected are tranquility, silence, moderation, patience, and contentment. Three of the five virtues, tranquility, silence, and moderation, come from Franklin’s original list. I have ultimately adapted them slightly from Franklin’s original concepts to better fit my life and the goal I am trying to achieve. The last two virtues are concepts that I decided on to help better myself. For tranquility, I have decided that I will try and make peace with things that I cannot control. I plan to do this by writing a list each night of things I cannot change, and cross the list off before I go to bed. This will provide me release from the stress of outside factors, while also allowing me, through the use of checking each idea off, to feel accomplished. As I have found that my life is very hectic, I would like to use the virtue, silence, to take ten minutes out of my day to sit quietly with no other distractions and reflect on my day. I think this virtue will provide me with a way to slow down and really appreciate the good aspects of my life. The last virtue of Franklin’s that I have chosen, moderation, will be applied to my busy daily life. I spend most of my time either at soccer or doing school work. For at least twenty minutes each week, I would like to spend time enjoying a hobby of mine. I would also like to set aside one day of the weekend to spend completely with family and friends. I need to connect more with the people and hobbies in my life that I enjoy, and with the practice of moderation, I hope I can achieve that. One of the hobbies that I selected for myself is patience, more particularly, patience with other people. I often want to rush in and share my own ideas before others can share theirs. I also sometimes become impatient and frustrated with others when they do not understand or agree with my ideas. By practicing patience, I hope to slow down and listen to others before jumping to conclusions. Lastly, I have selected the virtue of contentment to practice. When practicing contentment, I would like to journal each night about the things in my life that I am satisfied with. For each virtue, I will rank how successful I was at completing each one every day on a scale of one to five, with five being the highest. I hope this will ultimately allow me to become more content with my place in the world by allowing me to realize all of the great aspects of my life.
These five virtues have been meticulously selected for the purpose of benefiting myself, and by correlation, bettering the lives of those around me. My hope is not to achieve perfection, but to find some semblance of self-improvement throughout this journey. I have always hidden my pessimism behind the idea that I was ‘just being realistic.’ However, with this project, I plan to gain hope for a happy and successful future. I may not achieve perfection, but I believe that this experiment will make me have a more open-minded and positive outlook on my life.
“Search others for their virtues, thy self for thy vices.”
Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1738
November 9, 2021
Tranquility: 2: I was able to begin my journal about my progress with tranquility today. However, I was disappointed to find that it was hard for me to come up with outside factors that I was willing to make peace with.
Silence: 1: My day today was very busy and I was unable to find time to sit in silence by myself. I went from school to an eye appointment, to workout, to ACT tutoring, and then home to study and shower. By the time all of my other tasks were completed, I was too tired to try and find silence, besides the time for me to sleep.
Moderation: 4: Despite my busy day, I actually was able to moderate the enjoyment of other activities to my typical day of school and sports. Before my eye appointment, I was able to meet my mom and younger sister to go and get a juice and chat. After the appointment, I stopped with my sister for ice cream. In between my workout and ACT tutoring, I was able to enjoy a meal with most of my family, which is somewhat rare as we are all very busy. Lastly, I was able to catch the end of a facetime call with my older sister, who is at college. I felt very successful in my practice of moderation today. Although it was a bit unconventional and sporadic, I found time to enjoy with my family.
Patience: 2: I was very tired today, and almost immediately found that after arriving at school, my patience was already wearing thin. Someone, who I am not necessarily fond of, made a comment today and I did reply in a slightly unkind way. I also was rushing to leave a class that I did not enjoy. I felt like I was doing the best I could, but I need to take time to think over my responses more.
Contentment: 3: I started my journaling about the things in my life that I am content with. I was able to come up with some meaningful ideas, however I often found myself thinking more about the things that I do not feel content with in my life. Journaling felt like a good start, but I need to improve my mindset.