I think most people would like to believe that the ultra-successful received some good fortune at an early age that the rest of us will never have access to. This belief creates a mindset that success will never happen to them. From this mindset, one expects to fail rather than to succeed. And the excuse for not succeeding is always the same. You simply did not have the opportunities given to those more fortunate. In reality, I believe the opposite to be true. We all have opportunities to grow and become successful, but not everyone recognizes them. Because these opportunities look like obstacles blocking our path. Some see the obstacles and know that they can be overcome with a little diligence and hard work. This creates the daily opportunities that those with a failure mindset will never see.
We live in a world where civil discourse is not highly valued. People just do not seem to be able to talk to each other and work together. It makes me wonder what Franklin would think of our country today. Because from my perspective, things are spiraling out of control. We reach new depths daily. We cannot have leaders and public figures whose primary form of communication is yelling insults at each other and expect to have any civility at any level of our society. What can you do? Decide today that you can make a difference. Be courteous. Be honest. Be sincere. Live a life worth living.
In society today, living a life of virtue does not appear to be as highly regarded as it once was. Just look at the latest posts in your social media feeds. How many of the posts represent virtuousness? What does that say about you? Most importantly, how are the things that you are projecting and consuming on social media affecting your long-term goals? Franklin believed that virtue was a better way to a successful life way back in 1791. Yes, there are many who are rewarded for their high profile lifestyle. But for every one of them, there are many entrepreneurs and small business owners quietly succeeding.
Franklin believed the best way to live a life of happiness was to live a genuine, honest life. And I would agree. Being truthful creates less stress in your life than telling lies. After all, liars must always remember their lies and live with the consequences if caught. Sincere people are genuine. They do not have to worry about being found out. And integrity holds you to your honesty and sincerity even when the stakes are high. Before blaming the world for your unhappiness, think about your character and how you treat other people. Do the words truth, sincerity, and integrity come to mind? If not, you have some work to do.
Take some time out of each day to read something of substance. I’m not talking about a blog post or an article on your favorite news website. Read a book. Reading has always been how great men and women of the past improved themselves throughout their lifetimes. What Benjamin Franklin lacked in formal education, he more than made up for with reading and discussing what he read with his companions. Reading gives you the opportunity to connect with the great thinkers of the past and present. Reading allows you to dedicate yourself to a lifetime of learning and self-improvement. So, what are you going to start reading today?
At the end of the day, there is no better time spent than sharing a meal with your family. Make family dinner time a priority in your life. Eliminate all distractions. Turn off the television and leave your cell phones in another room. Take time during the meal to listen to your children, to instruct your children, and to laugh with your children. Make this time special and fun. Choose a book to read together and read a chapter to them at the end of the meal. Remember that this time is more than a time to eat and drink together. It is a time to show your family that they are important in your life.