Wednesday, January 03, 2007

On Franklin's Virtues and Carl's Uberlist

I've continued to think about Franklin's Virtues (that I wrote about in this post) and the idea of working on them one at a time. A few things have become evident to me:

1. My original choice was to begin working on "Tranquillity," but I'm realizing that perhaps Franklin had it posted close to the bottom for good reason. Achieving tranquility may, perhaps, require more effort and take a longer time than some of the others. In fact, many of the previous virtues are the kind of thing that if practiced, can lead to tranquility.

2. On New Year's Eve, I practiced "Temperance" - I didn't empty the basket of homemade bread. I didn't eat every bite of that delicious cannelloni. Strangely, it wasn't a terrible effort, but it is unusual for me to stop before finishing anything that tastes good. One glass of wine. I was proud of myself (did I mention how good the cannelloni was?) and since it was New Year's Eve it seemed a bit symbolic.

New Year's Day found me perfectly willing to quit after just one helping. I love blackeyed peas, pot liquor, and corn bread. Even more than that I love peach cobbler and ice cream. Only one serving. What has come over me? I would usually eat half the cobbler with a pint of ice cream...

Temperance, therefore, is my virtue of the month. Interesting that Franklin lists it first.

3. I've noticed that other "virtues" keep popping in my mind. "Speak not but what may benefit others" is one. "Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty" - the second part is a huge failing. I can't think that the first part is much of a problem, but the failure to do some things that I should is.

4. Now, I'm still only going to worry about temperance this month, but does it hurt that some of the other things are echoing in my consciousness? Maybe the beauty of Franklin's list is that they do work together, are mutually beneficial, each virtue forming a kind of basis for future virtues.

The peach cobbler is still in the refrigerator and the Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla is in the freezer. One small helping at a time.

I have done as many of you suggested and printed a copy to post to my bulletin board. The list of Virtues will be my major goal. I've read that it takes 2 weeks to establish a new habit...the problem is that it takes much less than that to break a habit. Yet, even if I have to start over frequently, I'm going to make the effort.

This doesn't mean that I am not making an "uberlist" of things that I'd like to see accomplished this year. Big things and little things. There is even an Uberlist Site with lists and updates by various individuals. Thanks to Carl for this idea. I love looking at other people's lists.

For me, this is not the same as making RESOLUTIONS, but a reminder of things that need to be done or that I would like to accomplish. Something to refer to, a reminder - not a requirement. I'm working on it, adding things as I think of them, sorting them into categories.

I went to Tai Chi last night. Left the house just after 6:30 and didn't get home until nearly 10:00. Getting back into my schedule with Tai Chi is one important item on my "uberlist." It helps lead to tranquility and gives me mental energy (something I've been lacking lately). If at the end of the quarter, I've made this a habit again, it won't matter if I've accomplished anything else on the list - I'll be satisfied.


  1. Good luck on the virtues. Temperence would be a good one for me to practice too, along with patience. But tranquility seems more like a result of the others than a virtue you can set out to achieve. Could that be why it's late on the list.

    I like the new header on your blog, by the way.

  2. Kay - That's what I think, too. Tranquility is a result of practicing the other virtues. Patience is something else I need to work on. :)

  3. I've been thinking about Virtues and Values for the last few days. Trying to dust off a few that I've ignored and hold myself more accountable this year. "Mind the Gap" - not the London tube warning but rather Steven Covey's admonition to manage the gap between stimulus and response - is what I have on the refrigerator. It helps to remind me that my actions are a reflection of the strength of my character.

    (BTW - I love big uberlists!)

  4. Hey I grinned to see my postcard as your banner! I have been offline for a day and a half "getting my act together". This general process seems to take longer than it used to and I'm also realizing that I'm MUCH too prone to interrupting an distracting myself. Enough of that goes on from the outside world, so I'm making my number one item for 2007 a refresher course in personal discipline. From there, I think it will be easier to identify and prioritize individual issues.

    Know what you mean about Tai Chi. I find the same kind of benefits from yoga as well as similar disarray-ment when I let myself slide with it.

  5. Franklin's virtues are printing as I type. :) They will go up on my fridge and will attempt to make them points of discussion with my teens...thanks!

  6. oh, and the new header makes me smile!

  7. Kim - Oh, the "Mind the Gap" makes me want to go to London! I will have to look Seven Covey up, as I'm not familiar with that phrase in any other connection besides the London tube. Aren't Uberlists great?

    ACey - :) finally got something up there! I'm working with some Yoga CDs, too. Amazing how much better you feel after a session. And how quickly one can find an excuse not to follow through...

    Karoda - You are right! The Virtues would be great for discussion with teens. Didn't you love "Chastity"? "...never to dulness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation..."

    The new banner makes me smile, too. That post card went to ACey.

  8. LOVE your header! =-) My mother's personal rule was: "Everything in moderation" which is applicable in almost any circumstance and something I strive for myself...

  9. My late MIL used to quote her own grandmother: "Nothing to excess; everything in moderation." I hear her say it in my head all the time, and I try to practice it.

    I wonder, as I read your thoughtful posts, if "resolution" might be a synonym for "discipline." We all get lazy and lax in doing the right thing at times, and I think many of us are talking about resuming (or assuming) greater discipline in our habits. You and Ben make good company!

  10. Debby - This is truly a problem with me. I do some things to excess, and others not at all. :0

    Jane Ann - Yes, I think "discipline" is an excellent way to look at it. I am not making any in I
    "resolve to lose 5 pounds or to make a queen size quilt."

    I need to "pay attention" to what I'm doing, saying, eating. Awareness makes moderation easier.

    The "uberlist" contains things that need to be done, but that I can choose from. I think that here, too, it is a matter of keeping myself aware and being disciplined enough not to keep putting things off.


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