Ben Franklin’s Virtue of Industry: Being Diligent Develops Self

“Diligence is the mother of good fortune.” The saying may be true, but what if your diligence was some form of self-improvement? In this article I’ll explore how diligent being can help you better yourself and others. Ernst Hartert said “In society we are all dependent on each other; work for it!”

Ben Franklin’s Virtue of Industry: Being Diligent Develops Self.
The “Ben Franklin’s Virtue of Industriousness” is a virtue that Ben Franklin believed in. He said, “industry is the mother of success.”
The “what are some acts that you have done showing the virtue of industriousness” is a question where I will answer by giving examples of how I have shown this virtue.


Don’t waste any time. Always be doing something beneficial. Remove any activities that aren’t essential.

You’ve undoubtedly heard of Tim Ferris’ book The Four-Hour Work Week if you spend any time online. Mr. Ferris’ goal in the book is to teach individuals how to work significantly less and so have the flexibility to construct the lifestyle of their desires.


Essentially, this includes delegating as many mundane jobs as possible to someone in India so that you can spend more time traveling the globe and following your passion. While I believe Mr. Ferris makes some valid comments about how to be more productive at work, I have never agreed with his assumption that individuals should strive to avoid work entirely via lifestyle design. Here are five of my complaints with The Four-Hour Workweek:

1. In the absence of labor, how can leisure be meaningful? I often want for a vacation from work, and when it finally arrives, the first week of rest is wonderful. The second week is equally delightful, but after that it becomes tedious and dull; I get twitchy and want to be involved in something helpful once again. It feels good to be productive when you finally get a rest. It’s impossible to have the sweet without the bitter.

2. When everyone wants to live the “Four Hour Work Week,” who will do the work? It’s just not possible to ignore employment. Sure, you can outsource labor to an Indian worker right now, but what happens when that Indian worker wants to outsource his employment so he can “lifestyle design?” Maybe he’ll hire someone in Vietnam to do his job for him. But what happens when that Vietnamese individual achieves a level of wealth that permits him to live the dream? Meanwhile, who will be our teachers, physicians, and attorneys at home? When we wish to go across the globe, who will fly the plane? Those unfortunate folks who never purchased the book.

The concept of delegating all of your responsibilities to someone else is elitist and undemocratic. The inference is that only those who aren’t savvy enough to have gotten away from it will work. Why do you think labor is beneath you, yet it’s OK for others?

3. Work that is difficult and occasionally unpleasant refines your character. How will you cultivate the qualities of perseverance, tenacity, and self-discipline if you delegate every disagreeable task to someone else? Every difficult assignment you finish improves your capacity to cope with adversity in the future. You won’t be able to outsource your grief if someone dear to you dies, and you won’t be able to outsource your desire to get well if you become sick. Will you have the mental and emotional strength to cope with a catastrophe you can’t blame on someone else if you’ve spent your life avoiding hard work?

4. Work promotes personal accountability. When you opt to do things yourself, you assume responsibility for the work at hand and the outcomes of your efforts. You may escape having to accept responsibility if anything goes wrong if you outsource your job to someone else, but you also deny yourself the satisfaction and pride of achievement when things go well.


5. Setting a negative example for your children with “The Four Hour Work Week” is a horrible idea. What does it teach your children if they see that whenever their father has an unpleasant task to do, he assigns it to someone else? Outsourcing your job conveys the message to them that you should give up when confronted with a difficult assignment and delegate it to someone else. Why bother putting up a campaign and printing posters if you’re running for class president? You may just hire someone to do it for you. Do you have a bully who is harassing you? Hire someone to kick his ass for you instead of confronting him.

The Argument for Hard Work

Self-respect is developed. Putting in a good day’s work allows you to look in the mirror without feeling embarrassed. Consider the last time you squandered a whole day playing video games. Sure, it was great when you were beating asses at Halo, but how did you feel when you finally switched off the computer at 4 a.m.? If you’re anything like me, you undoubtedly felt like an ineffective jerk. You realize you’ve spent the whole day doing something that hasn’t helped you or the world around you improve. You have special abilities and skills that you should share with others. However, squandering the gift of time demonstrates that you are satisfied to live a life of selfish mediocrity. Realize your full potential and make every moment of your life matter.

Don’t waste your life and die in disgrace. Witherspoon, John

Aids in the treatment of depression. Idleness may not be the devil’s playground, but it is certainly the romper room of despair. Have you ever met a guy who has been jobless for a long time? He most likely fell into a deep depression. Men are hardwired to desire to feel productive, to be able to create and give for others. Men frequently feel lost when they are deprived of job because it takes away their sense of identity and purpose. Work gives you a purpose to get out of bed each day and gives you a feeling of achievement.

I took a trek along a wonderful creek the last time I went camping. I observed that the portions of the stream where the water traveled the quickest were crystal clear and free of debris. Where the current slowed and halted, the stream became sluggish and murky. It’s the same in life; we have to keep going in order to be happy and motivated. We will languish and grow sad if we do not do so.

There will be more time for family and civic involvement. I have a law school acquaintance who has three children. He is constantly working and making the most of his time at school. “Every minute I squander here at school is one minute less that I’ll have time to spend with my kids when I get home,” he said once when I asked him how he does it. My buddy is able to concentrate entirely on his family when he returns home since he completed his work at school.


In addition to having more time for your family, being productive will allow you to give more time to your community. Developing the virtue of tenacity not only frees up time for civic engagement, but it also aids in the development of the work ethic required to contribute to the public good. Community projects aren’t completed by a bunch of slackers. It necessitates proactive and mobile individuals.

How to Be a Hardworking Person

Plan. Sit down before going to bed and make a plan for the following day. People flounder and squander time throughout the day for a variety of reasons, one of which is that they have no idea what they should be doing. You may prevent this by planning your day out ahead of time. Find a system that suits your needs. Some individuals want to plan every minute of their day, while others prefer to just have a list of chores to fulfill. Some individuals prefer digital or internet planners, while others prefer paper planners. Personally, I use a paper planner that I created using Excel. I prefer to schedule my activities for each hour of the day. It assists me in remaining focused and on target.

It’s surprising how much you can do if you’re always working. Thomas Jefferson is a famous American politician.

Distract yourself as much as possible. While I disagree with Tim Ferris’ urge to outsource every disagreeable task in your life, I do agree with his advice on avoiding unnecessary distractions. Batching your email is one of his suggestions that I really enjoy. Instead of checking your email hundreds of times during the day, set aside two periods to check and react to emails.

Turn off your Wi-Fi or unplug your Ethernet line while you’re working if accessing the web is a huge time sink for you. With Leech Ban for Firefox, you may block certain websites for a predetermined length of time.

Check out the following articles for additional in-depth information on how to reduce distractions:

  • How to Stop Spinning Your Wheels on the Internet
  • How to Get Rid of Your Smartphone Addiction

Have a worthwhile aim in mind. You will naturally spend your time focusing on whatever your current objectives are. Consider that for a moment. Why do some guys spend their days playing video games for hours on end? Their objective is to win the game or to defeat other players. They keep playing till they reach their aim.

Imagine if these folks aspired to greater heights. Instead of spending time attempting to get more kills on a video game, they might be working on their fitness or learning a new skill that would help them progress their profession.

Set worthwhile objectives for yourself. A good objective is one that will improve your life or the lives of others around you. Carry your objectives with you at all times once you’ve written them down. On my daily planning papers, I have an area where I put down my daily objectives. This does not need the use of a planner. Simply put your objectives on a 3×5 index card.


Stop and ask yourself, “Will this activity move me closer to my goal?” every time you make a choice about how you’re going to spend your time. Don’t do it if you don’t have to. This will require some effort and discipline at first, but it will become second nature after a time. You’ll be focused on the things that will make you more productive and industrious, rather than squandering your valuable time on trivial hobbies.

The 48/12 rule should be followed. Being productive is admirable, but if you’re a person, you’ll need to take pauses to prevent a mental collapse. Implementing the 48/12 rule in your life is one method to guarantee you receive the breaks your mind and body need. The 48/12 rule requires you to work constantly for 48 minutes. For those 48 minutes, your only concentration is on the work at hand. After the 48 minutes are done, take a 12-minute rest. Surf the internet or get up and take a little walk outdoors. Return to work as soon as the 12 minutes are over. You’ll be astonished at how much you can do in a day if you follow this guideline.

Even when you’re not working, find methods to be productive. When you have free time away from the job that pays your bills, put it to good use by engaging in activities that will help you become a better man. True leisure is an activity that energizes you and prepares you for the week ahead. Instead of vegging out in front of the TV watching the VH1 “I Love the 90s” marathon, fill your free time with activities that will revitalize you.

The goal is to keep occupied, but at a considerably slower pace. Remember that the longer you sit around doing nothing, the more difficult it will be to push yourself when you have to work. Stay occupied with soothing but productive leisure activities to avoid getting stuck in a rut.

The rest of the 13 Virtues Series may be found here.

  1. Temperance
  2. Silence
  3. Order
  4. Resolution
  5. Industry
  6. Sincerity
  7. Justice
  8. Moderation
  9. Cleanliness
  10. Tranquility
  11. Chastity
  12. Humility

Benjamin Franklin was a president and he was also known for his virtue of industry. Industry is the quality of being diligent and hardworking. This means that you are always working hard to develop yourself. Reference: was ben franklin a president.

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