Tag Archives: morality

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 Meetup.com to find such networks for myself to be part of.

 

Best speech ever – why free trade and capitalism is in our blood

http://www.ted.com/talks/matt_ridley_when_ideas_have_sex.html

Matt Ridley explains how the human race is able to create things that a single human being could not possibly create, how we are all dependent on each other, and the reason we have tripled our average real wealth per person on earth even with the population growth that we have had.

This speech explains exactly why capitalism and free trade is in the blood of humans, and why people fighting against it or restraining it in any form are nothing but evil.