Strengthening My Resolution
This week we were introduced to the Franklin Makeover spreadsheet as part of our homework assignment. It is a version of what he tried to accomplish for himself to instill virtues in his own life. You can find the details to his little project below http://www.ushistory.org/franklin/autobiography/page38.htm
Our assignment is the same, but different. Let me explain, Benjamin Franklin wrote, “My intention being to acquire the habitude of all these virtues, I judged it would be well not to distract my attention by attempting the whole at once, but to fix it on one of them at a time, and, when I should be master of that, then to proceed to another, and so on, till I should have gone thro' the thirteen…I made a little book, in which I allotted a page for each of the virtues. I ruled each page with red ink, so as to have seven columns, one for each day of the week, marking each column with a letter for the day. I crossed these columns with thirteen red lines, marking the beginning of each line with the first letter of one of the virtues, on which line, and in its proper column, I might mark, by a little black spot, every fault I found upon examination to have been committed respecting that virtue upon that day.”
The thirteen virtues Franklin listed are as follows: Temperance, Silence, Order, Resolution, Frugality, Industry, Sincerity, Justice, Moderation, Cleanliness, Tranquility, Chastity, and Humility.
In our assignment we will track 11 virtues. Our list is as follows: Self-Control, Discipline, Enthusiasm, Courage, Persistence, Specialized Knowledge, Imagination, Decisiveness, Well-Organized, Taking Initiative, and Pleasing Personality.
We may pick the order in which we would like to focus our attention on one of the virtues for one week, then we begin a new virtue focus the following week, and so on. My virtue to focus on this week is Decisiveness. I mark, by a little black spot, every positive act of decisiveness I observe respecting that virtue upon that day. Thus putting into play the Law of Growth, what I think about grows. What we forget atrophies. I am observing decisiveness everywhere, even while chatting with my mom on the phone—She shares a story of decisive actions by her neighbor, and I have to jump up and add black spots to my chart on the refrigerator. I am enjoying this exercise.
Now add to this exercise of focusing on one virtue weekly, and include our growing stack of 3x5 gratitude cards we are penning daily. We add 15-20 or more cards each week of something we are grateful for, without repeating. In the short video that follows, you will find amazing truth and beauty in gratitude. Embrace Gratitude and you will find Gratitude in YOU.
Within that deck of 3x5 cards we are adding accomplishments from our life, “I graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education.” Or, “ I learned to ask for help.” And “I am a proficient typist.” Next write a card with a 1-2 sentence ‘mini-journal’ statement of a positive experience from the day. Add a new positive experience each day. Read these cards aloud daily, think about them, and feel them. Do you see a focus here? Is your magnifying glass held perfectly still?
1.“There is a world within-a world of thought and feeling, and power; of light and life and beauty and, although invisible, its forces are mighty.”1-6, Haanell.
2. “Mental strength is secured in exactly the same way that physical strength is secured, by exercise.”4-28, Haanell.
3. “Learn to keep the door shut, keep out of your mind and out of your world, every element that seeks admittance with no definite helpful end in view.” George Mathew Adams
4. “We are securing our mental strength by exercise. And we are building with the best kind of material, the texture is firm, the material is solid, and will not fade.” 5-11,Haanell.
5. “The first form which thought will find is language, or words; this determines the importance of words; they are the first manifestation of thought—the vessels in which thought is carried.” 15-12, Haanell.
6. “The beauty of the word consists in the beauty of the thought; the power of the word consists in the power of the thought…” 15-23, Haanell.
We are working every angle to insure that what we think about is true, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy. It is hard mental labor. Wooden shared, "Most of it is practice, the rest of it is work." Being decisive is strengthening my resolution.
Add in another layer for good measure; including Emmet Fox’s The Seven Day Mental Diet, and Earl Nightingale’s The Strangest Secret, and there is unfoldment from within that is so beautiful to behold, and it was there all along. The icing on the cake, if we were following the ingredients for right thinking, is a thrice sprinkling with Mandino’s scroll #4; we are nature’s greatest miracle. We are to relish and rejoice in our uniqueness. “God formed my inward parts, He covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.” Psalm 139:13-14
“Think truly, and thy thoughts shall the world’s famine feed;
Speak truly, and each word of thine shall be a fruitful seed;
Live truly, and thy life shall be a great and noble creed.” Horatio Bonar