Category Archives: Personality

Life Lesson’s from Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography

Main learnings from this book:

    • Humbleness
      • Better to convince people by being the “humble inquirer” rather than being confrontational and “winning over” people which may win you the argument, but will not win you any friends, which is more important for success. Better to help people realize the truth for themselves, which makes them like you more and gives them the feeling that you are their mentor and want their best, rather than proving them wrong, which makes them feel like you are out to compete with them and make them feel foolish and makes them not trust you but instead hate and fear you.
      • Tell people stuff like “I believe…, it seems to me…, from my point of view it looks like…” instead of being dogmatic.
        • Own thoughts around this: It seems like this goes very much into the skill of getting people to come to a conclusion themselves, rather than telling them how it is.
    • Socratic dialogue
      • Good for proving people wrong
      • Humble inquirer
      • Aim not to “disprove” people, but to help them realize stuff
    • If you get help from someone else, that person is more likely to keep helping you, than if you had offered to help him. Thus: If you want to repair or establish a relationship, ask people for help! [I personally believe it should be help which does not cause them any grief or much effort, for example asking to borrow a book, and at the same time strokes their ego.]
    • Method of character development
      • Wrote down 13 traits of good character:
        • Humbleness
        • Temperance (don’t eat to dullness or drink until elevation – which contributed according to him to his energy and longevity)
        • Industry (showed how being industrious made people speak about him as being trustworthy, in the end leading them to give business to him)
        • Integrity
        • Sincerity
        • Order (everything has its time and place – plan accordingly and focus on one event at a time)
        • …?
      • Had 13 weeks (one for each character), and every week focused on getting no dots (breaking the character habit) on one character trait. If he succeeded, he went on to the next character trait and did the same. Thus, in 13 weeks, he focused on improving one character trait per week for 13 weeks. (But he had to repeat some when he did not succeed with it during that week.) And he went through this list again once every year. (This is something I should also try to achieve.)
        • Psychology about self-development: He realized that he couldn’t just read about what is good, because people are creatures of habit – so he had to habituate a set of character traits which would make him moral and good. And he says that all these traits made him good in different ways, and combined made him a great person to converse with and pleasant to be with.
    • That if one focuses on one singular goal, and strives with all his might to achieve it, without distractions, it will likely happen (if it is realistic)
    • Reading a LOT makes you smart
    • He woke up early, took 3 hours for breakfast, preparing, planning the goals of the day (5-8). Then work 4h (8-12). Then lunch 2h (12-14). Then work 4h (14-18). Then reading and leisure with friends and then to bed (18-22). The importance and contribution of not sleeping too long, the extra 2h he has (3h in the morning minus one hour in the evening which for me is not productive anyway) goes a long way, because during those 2h he can read a book in a couple of days, which is 4-5 books per month.
    • Hide that you’re the initiator or driver of projects, pretend you’re doing it for others to not open up their jealousy. Don’t let your prestige come in the way of your success – better to aim for success than for prestige. Lie low, initiate projects and things, let others take credit if they want because when people find out they did not actually initiate the projects they are claiming to, then they will get the punishment by being discredited.

Personal thoughts around the book:

  • He was a naturally talented person? He succeeded easily in stuff he went into, often winning and becoming the best at it. Is this because he was naturally talented? Or did it come from the fact that he read a lot so he developed his intelligence faster and broader? It seems like him reading a lot and really wanting to learn a lot was a great contributor to his success and abilities. It also seems like he may have had some innate talent – but I’m not sure. Perhaps it is worth looking into intelligence pills or something like that, because obviously high intelligence is of great benefit.
  • His network strength and benefits of that: It seems like the network he built (partly because of his character development, which made him very pleasant to be with and speak with), through his Junta, was a very strong influence on the success of his life. The network had a coherent philosophy, and a defined code of conduct which was focused on everybody’s development and about finding the truth and helping each other, rather than prestige and “winning”. This was of great benefit to Franklin because he used this to refine his oral skills, his philosophies, his character, and he also used this as his network to find people that would help him and support him with a strong network in various places in public life. Is it possible to create or be part of such a network in today’s world? Perhaps I should search to find such networks for myself to be part of.


The Curse of the Creative

The curse of the creative is that although we have SOOO many good ideas, we have no way to keep track of it all, and even less resources to follow up and see how it is all going, which ideas are good, which are not so good, how to optimize and improve on our existing ideas, and less of all to execute even a fraction of them effectively.

Even though we might say “wow this is one of the best ideas I have had the last year”, and no matter how much we try, it is VERY DIFFICULT to let go of all other ideas that keep streaming into our minds and just do this one thing that we really want to do.

Because we keep getting sidetracked, knocked off of our established path, urged to try out new things that pop into our minds.. That’s who we are. We are creative. We are not made to track, to administrate, to execute to perfection. We have new visions all the time, every month or even every week coming up with new ways of improving things, and how are we supposed to disregard all those wonderful creative solutions that keep popping up in our minds, and just hold our focus on what we are currently doing?

What we have been working on for more than one week suddenly seems so old, so outdated, so boring compared to all the new stuff we come up with all the time.

Everything else is shiny – what we are looking at currently, even if it is originated from our own minds, suddenly looks dull in comparison….

This is the curse of the creative people. Channeling our ideas effectively is our greatest challenge.

For us, ideas are not a scarce resource. And we can not operate effectively in this world by ourselves. Because if we do, if we are forcing ourselves to keep our focus on one thing, then we are suppressing our greatest strength – our ability to see new solutions to old problems. And this scares us. We are afraid that if we do that for too long, we will loose our greatest strength, that we will become.. One of them. One of those people who do not see what we see, one of those people who just accept the world as it is, and not wanting to change it for the better.

But paradoxically, we need those people. They complement us. They must take over our ideas once we have spit them out. We need several of those people to channel all our ideas through. They are the ones who must inherit what we create, and make it blossom. Because while our greatest strength is to plant new seeds, if left to us, those same seeds will soon be neglected and die. Because we will have already moved on to create even other seeds before they have the chance to get the attention they deserve.

My mission in life is to align with those people who are my opposite. That’s when I can finally see my ideas come into fruition.