When I began my journey to moral perfection, I chose three of my own virtues and two of Franklin’s: Cleanliness, Acceptance, Productivity, Tranquility, and Kindness. I chose to prioritize Tranquility and Productivity as those were two I felt were particularly important for myself. I have a busy schedule, and it is often hard for me to find time to relax. I thought that by working on finding a good balance between the two I would decrease time spent on work and therefore have more time to myself. By working on Kindness, I spread more positivity to those around me, and by working on my other virtues I was happier, more organized, and relaxed. 

I struggled the most with Productivity, but overall I did a decent job with it. I included Productivity in my list of virtues because I believe if I master it my daily life will improve dramatically. I usually waste a couple hours after coming home from tennis and school. I call this time my relaxation time, but in reality I’m just procrastinating on my work. I thought if I could be productive and knock out my homework right when I get home, I would have more time at night to do whatever I please without assignments lingering in the background of my mind. However, this proved to be difficult as when I get home from seven hours of school and three hours of tennis, I am exhausted. It’s incredibly difficult to start on homework right away and stay focused. I did have days where I accomplished this and it felt great to have that free time after, but I couldn’t maintain it. On a positive note, if I wasn’t able to completely omit the transition time I usually spend doing useless things, I was able to decrease it. 

The virtue I did the best with was Tranquility. I found time in my day for meditation, walks, reading, stretching, listening to music, watching tv and many other beneficial activities. Not only did these specific activities benefit my Tranquility in that moment, I felt the positive influence of Tranquility in several aspects of my life. In tennis, school, and with my family I felt more relaxed and I found more enjoyment in life because I wasn’t so stressed and anxious. I expect to greatly benefit from my improvement so far and I hope to continue making progress. My other virtues Cleanliness and Acceptance went hand in hand with Tranquility as when I was organized and not expecting myself to be perfect, I felt more at ease.

Looking back on this experiment, I definitely see improvement in my mindset and my life. While I certainly did not achieve perfection, I bettered myself and as a result the people around me. Finding time to practice my virtues each day was sometimes a struggle, but the outcome made it well worth it. I hope to continue working on my virtues and maybe even adding some more to work on. With a little time, effort, and goal setting I am proud of how I made small, but important improvements in my life. I will remember the knowledge and strategies I gained from this experiment and continue to implement them in the future.

Day 10 – Nov 18th

Today is the last day of blogging, and I’m ending this experiment on a pretty good day. Being able to sleep in on late start days automatically makes my day better. Getting almost nine hours of sleep left me feeling tranquil and ready for the day. I focused on Kindness, Tranquility, and Cleanliness, and I would say they were all a success. In Spanish my class got to relax and watch Beauty and the Beast. Compared to our usual worksheet, reading, and discussion packed hour, this improved my day and especially my Tranquility. In addition, I worked on Cleanliness and Productivity by making a to-do list and organizing my schedule for Thanksgiving break. Being organized will allow me to optimize my relaxation time, while still being productive. 

Day 9 – Nov 17th

My virtues of focus today were Acceptance, Tranquility, and Kindness. I had a physics test yesterday and I felt like it was very easy. When I got my grade back today, I was a little disappointed because I was expecting a higher score. However, I accepted that I am not perfect and let it go. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to school, so I am proud of myself for accepting my grade and moving on. Tennis practice was enjoyable, and I got good exercise which allowed me to feel more relaxed the rest of the day. I have found that exercise is a great way for me to boost Tranquility and relieve stress. Finally, I worked on the virtue Kindness. My tennis club is collecting donations for the Johnson County Christmas Bureau, so I decided to donate multiple cans of food. I hope my donations help people in need and I want to continue to spread kindness and positivity in the community.

Day 8 – Nov 16th

My goal for today was to focus on Productivity, as I had a lot of homework to do. I was able to have great success with Productivity, and I even worked on Cleanliness as well. In the morning, I made my bed and picked up my room for about five minutes. While the amount of time I took to work on Cleanliness was relatively small, it made a big impact on my day. After school and tennis, I put my phone away and got straight to work. I didn’t let myself touch my phone until certain assignments were done, and when I took a break, I took a short walk outside. Not only was I productive by accomplishing things and efficiently knocking out homework, I was able to spend my down time productively as well. I think today was probably my best day for Productivity so far, and I hope to have more successful days using similar strategies. 

Day 7 – Nov 15th

Today I woke up tired and in a bad mood, so I decided to take the time to do a ten minute meditation on YouTube. It really helped me reset and have a better day despite not waking up feeling my best. Being able to relax myself made Tranquility a success for the day. I also worked on Kindness by holding the door open for people whenever I could. While this is a simple act of kindness, it truly can have a positive effect on people’s days and I feel that it did. Yesterday, I cleaned my room, so there wasn’t much to work on in regards to Cleanliness. Overall, my day was alright. I do hope to get better sleep in the future, so I can avoid starting the day with a negative mindset.  

Day 6 – Nov 14th

            I started my day by sleeping in for the first time in a few weeks, which was really nice. I had a delicious breakfast and hung out with my mom for a little. The beginning of my day was very peaceful and relaxing, making Tranquility a success. Productivity in regard to downtime went well as I wasn’t on my phone very much today and when I took breaks between homework, I spent them reading. I didn’t get much of a chance to work on Acceptance or Kindness, but I did clean my room and put clothes away. Starting the week off being organized and with a clean room always makes the next week go smoother. Today, three out of my five virtues went well and it was a pretty good day.

Day 5 – Nov 13th

Productivity was a struggle today, as I didn’t get much work done even though I had a lot of free time to do it. I went to tennis practice and worked out, but other than that I didn’t do a whole lot. I did well with Tranquility as after working out I took a nice shower and a nap. After that I enjoyed some time with my parents catching up because I was very busy last week and didn’t have much time to talk with them. I also improved on my virtue Acceptance. I found myself wishing I had done more work, but I quickly reminded myself that it is okay to take a break and not constantly be productive. Finally, before bed I worked on my virtue Cleanliness by making a to-do list for the next day and organizing my school work and schedule for the upcoming week. 

Day 4 – Nov 12th

After two super busy days, I decided Cleanliness would be an appropriate virtue to work on for the day. My room had gotten slightly messy and I had a couple bags full of clothes and toiletries from having to jump from activity to activity days prior. I took the time to unpack those and tidy up my room when I got home from school. Then, I went to tennis practice where I tested myself with the virtue of Acceptance. I wasn’t having the best day on the court and found myself missing more shots than I usually do. Instead of getting frustrated, I tried to simply have fun and enjoy the sport. I accepted that I will not be perfect and I will make mistakes, and most importantly that tennis is just a game. Before bed I did a ten minute stretch while listening to music, which really helped with Tranquility and set the tone for a great night of sleep. 

Day 3 – Nov 11th

I spent today working on my virtues Kindness and Productivity. At tennis I made it a goal to give out five compliments. When I saw someone hit a good shot or play a nice point I let them know, and I also complimented several people’s outfits. It was awesome to see people react when I complimented them and I think I will definitely start doing it more often. I think I did a great job spreading positivity to others around me today. I also worked on Productivity when I used thirty minutes of down time between clinic and my lesson to finish my physics lab. I’m proud of myself for getting some work done instead of throwing away thirty minutes by scrolling through my phone and getting no real benefit.

Day 2 – Nov 10th

Today was a great day for me to work on my virtue Acceptance. I had a math test and didn’t do as well as I would have liked to. Usually I would be super hard on myself and let it ruin my day. However, I accepted the fact that I couldn’t change it and it’s okay not to be perfect. I will simply work harder to prepare for the next test and hopefully do better. I also worked on Cleanliness today, as I organized my room and made my bed in the morning. Starting the day off with a clean room boosted my mood and helped me be more productive when I came home to a clean workspace. I had a really busy day as I went to school early to get math help, went straight from school to tennis, and went straight from tennis to an award banquet. I didn’t get home until around 10, and had to get to homework straightaway, so I didn’t have much time to work on my other virtues. 

Day 1 – Nov 9th

My focus for today was Tranquility, and I did an excellent job with it. I have a math test tomorrow and have been studying and stressing about it a lot. In the middle of studying I decided to take a break and listen to a ten minute guided meditation on youtube. This really calmed my mind and body. While the aim of meditation was to work on Tranquility, I also worked on Productivity because I spent my down time in a productive way. I could have spent the time scrolling on my phone, but instead I took time to relax myself and find peace. I also took a day off of tennis today, which was a kindness to myself as I was tired and sore. I didn’t work on Acceptance or Cleanliness, but it was still a productive day because I worked on three of my five virtues.

Introduction – Greta Stechschulte

My motivation for my blog is to hold myself accountable for focusing on my self-selected virtues. By blogging about my virtues, I hope to better myself and strive for moral excellence. My relationship with Benjamin Franklin has been solely academic, as we learn about the basics of his life in school. While Franklin and I are from different centuries, he chose to focus on his virtues for his entire life in a similar way that I will be focusing on my virtues for the next two weeks. The blog will be a way for me to reflect on my progress and assess my pursuit of moral perfection in my five virtues.

The virtues I have chosen to blog about are cleanliness and tranquility, from Franklin’s virtues, and productivity, acceptance, and kindness, from my own list of virtues. I chose cleanliness because I tend to let my room get cluttered throughout the week, and then organize everything just for it to be messy again. A strategy I will use to achieve cleanliness is to take ten minutes everyday to tidy up my room, whether that’s making my bed in the morning, or putting away my clothes at night. Next, I want to work on tranquility, as I am not a particularly flexible person. I am stressed out a lot of the time and I want to find a way to feel more at ease in the next two weeks. To achieve tranquility, I will be meditating a few times a week and see how it affects my state of mind. I also want to work on productivity, but more specifically productivity of down time. When I give myself well-deserved breaks after completing a homework assignment or working for an hour or two, I usually spend that time mindlessly scrolling through my phone and not getting much benefit from it. With this experiment, I want to use that downtime to go on a walk, read, take a nap, or anything else that is a productive and relaxing way to spend my free time. Another virtue I want to attempt to perfect is acceptance. I am a perfectionist when it comes to academics, and I want to work on understanding that I am not perfect and that is okay. Whether I miss a few questions on a math test, or completely forget a homework assignment, I want to work on accepting that it is okay to be less than perfect. I will be focusing on acceptance mostly in regard to academics and tennis, and my strategy will be to keep a positive mindset. Lastly, I want to work on the virtue of kindness. I believe this is something important that everyone can focus on and I hope to work on spreading kindness myself. Each week I will complete three acts of kindness and blog about the positivity they spread and their effect on others and myself.

By participating in the virtue blogging experiment, I hope to discover strategies I can continue using to better myself in the future. While I predict it may not be easy to begin these new habits and work on five different virtues at the same time, I do think it will be worthwhile. In addition, by working on tranquility and acceptance, I hope to find more peace in my life and be less stressed out. While attempting to achieve moral perfection in these five aspects I aspire to spread positivity in other people’s lives and have a more positive outlook on my own.