Luke Kounkel – Reflection

  • Introduction: I chose my virtues by looking at what I struggle wiht and choosing virtues that were complementary to those problems. I don’t tend to suffer many problems outside of a few large core ones, so choosing virtues wasn’t difficult. This assignment shows my character through a peek into my daily life for 2 weeks and all of the actions I took. Unlike Franklin I really don’t have any lofty goals, and am really just looking to live my life.
  • Challenge: The virtue I struggled with most was the one I most needed improvement with, Industry. Focusing and getting through large swathes of work has always been a challenge for me, and improving here would have been very helpful to my productivity for the rest of my life. I improved slightly through implementation of a to-do list on my phone that always let me know what needed to be done, but my total industry remained mostly unchanged. In the future I might seek medication or treatment for ADHD, but right now I seem to be coping fine.
  • Success: One virtue I made improvement on was disconnection. I ended up spending an hour or so less on my phone each day doing other activities, and even though industry as a whole was a failure, disconnection will give me more time to get things done in the future.
  • Summary: Becuase of my successes in disconnection, I have more time to do work or to relax mindfully as opposed to mindless scrolling. This attempt to improve also showed me some methods that don’t work, so if I try this again on my own I’ll know what not to try.

Luke Kounkel – Nov 18

Another day of low production, high tranquility. I was able to finish all of my remaining homework at school, and because of that, I had another relaxing day at home. I spent the majority of my time relaxing on my phone or playing video games, but after dinner I hopped on a call with some friends. Seeing as this was the last real day of the virtues project, it ended a lot less eventful than I would have hoped, but all in all, it was a good day. I got plenty of time to unwind and got an early start to the Thanksgiving break.

Luke Kounkel – Nov 17

Today was a difficult day to work on my virtues. I had very little homework for the day and so any ideas of being productive were scattered to the wind. Since there was no real pressure to actually get anything done, instead I just relaxed, had some me time, and then finished the night by calling with some friends. Today was overall a good day for me, but not a great one for the virtues. Let’s just pretend that I was forcing myself to practice productivity tomorrow by putting off work. Framed like that, today seems like more of a win.

Luke Kounkel – Nov 16

Today was a pretty good day for the virtues. I have my internship with Cerner on odd days, so I get to go home early and video conference in with my manager. Today we were setting up some groundwork for a big project to cap off the semester, and I got to go through a bunch of real-world procedures for problem solving at Cerner. Out of the 3 high schoolers on our team I am currently the farthest along with everything, so I’d say that my productivity virtue was utilized well. So far this week I’ve had very little homework, so I’ve had plenty of time to fulfill my tranquility virtue, and even though my allergies don’t feel great, I’m managing.

Luke Kounkel – Nov 15

Today was one of the medium days. I have had a cold for the last week or so, and today was the worst day so far. The cold definitely screwed with my tranquility virtue, and after getting home I did 0 work in favor of resting. Luckily I had completed a large portion of my homework for the day at school, otherwise I might have been swamped and my productivity virtues would have been full fails. As it stands, they were only partially completed. My disconnection virtue was a failure too because my method of resting from my cold was getting some hot drinks and laying down on my phone for a few hours. I’ll be getting a lot more sleep tonight than the day before, so hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Luke Kounkel – Nov 14

Today was another medium day for all of my virtues. After waking up and eating breakfast I went rock climbing for an hour and a half. Exercise is a good way to release endorphins, and climbing adds difficult or fun routes to make it more interesting than just running. Because of that plus a lot of alone time today I think my tranquility virtue was fulfilled. Disconnection was a failure today though because outside of climbing I spent almost the entire day on my Mac or on my phone. Finally, my productivity virtues were middle of the road. While I did finish off all of my remaining homework for the weekend, I woke up around noon and didn’t start doing anything until around 4. Still leaving room for improvement, but getting better.

Luke Kounkel – Nov 13

This is the first weekend day so far in the Ben Franklin project so far, and it went swimmingly. I got a good night’s sleep, waking up ready to tackle my virtues. After a late breakfast and some distractions, I only managed to do a little homework before it was time to head out for pole vault. After practice, I came back home and relaxed for a little while. Probably not what I should have been doing at the time, but I had no pressing homework and I was tired after a long running workout. Once the late night second wind kicked in I started on my homework and after a few hours I got a good portion of it done. To give the virtues a rating, it was C’s across the board. Not awful, but not great either. 

Luke Kounkel – Nov 12

Today was an extreme between my virtues. My friends and I all got together immediately after school to hang out, and we all stayed together till around 12:45 that night. This of course meant that I got a grand total of 0 work done, so I completely failed my productivity virtues. This failure is tempered however with the mental health virtue successes. The occasional break is always nice for relaxation, and getting to spend time with good friends is one of the best ways to take a break. Spending all this time with friends also meant that I had a lot less time to spend looking at my phone, so my disconnection virtue was fufulled. I also didn’t have any homework due tonight, so giving my weekend up to productivity didn’t seem like that bad of an idea. Maybe I’ll try to be better about this in the future, but seeing as it probably won’t affect me in any way, maybe not.

Luke Kounkel – Nov 11

Today has been less productive than yesterday, and I am realizing that the virtues I chose will make for an interesting tightrope to walk. The balance between industry and tranquility is a tough one to get right. Too much work and I get burnt out, too much relaxation and I fall behind. And though today leaned close to an excess of relaxation, I did pretty well with my virtue of disconnection. After school I powered off my phone for 3 hours, but instead of doing work I lethargically sat around. When I got around to my homework it was later than I would have wanted, but since even days are my easy days, it didn’t seem all that pressing. All in all not a terrible day for the virtues, but it left lots of room for improvement.

Luke Kounkel – Nov 10

Today went well for the virtues. During school, I had some easy classes which gave me time to do a little homework during my free time. After school, I went for a walk and took some time to reflect. While out on my walk I took some pictures of the fall trees. After the walk, I set my phone down and for an hour and a half I worked down the list of my most pressing homework. After taking a short break, I went back to work for another hour. Finally getting to the lower priority items on the list, I got bored and decided to call it a day. I could have been more industrious, but it felt like a good ending point, so I left it there.

Luke Kounkel – Introduction

For this project, the virtues I am choosing to focus on are order, industry, tranquility, disconnection, and humility. I have struggled with my work ethic and the workload that results from it since middle school and I want to turn it around. Because of my workload and the perfectionist procrastination style I’ve adopted, my mental health has also been suffering over that period of time. Ben Franklin recognized his faults and decided to move towards a morally perfect life. Throughout the course of this blog I hope to improve in each section and seek the same path Franklin went down. 

Order, industry, and disconnection are three that I want to focus on for the sake of productivity, tranquility and humility for my mental health. For disconnection I plan on having a period each day when I will set my phone in a separate room and focus without it. With order and industry, I plan on making an ordered list of everything I need to accomplish each day and with the virtue of industry, following through each to completion. For the virtue of tranquility and humility I plan on taking 30 minutes each day away from any distractions and spending time reflecting on my life.

My hopes for this project are to create habits of productivity and self-reflection that will help me in the next several years of schooling. I foresee all of this plan going well as long as I can make the first few days stick. With that being said, I am ready to chase worldly perfection through the virtues.