“Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790),” wrote Walter Isaacson, “was the most accomplished American of his age.” If you look up the word polymath (a person of wide-ranging knowledge or learning) — you will find a photo of Franklin. He was a brilliant diplomat and political leader, founding father of the United States, accomplished writer, publisher (Poor Richard’s Almanac), inventor, scientist, and businessman. Over the course of his very rich life, he gained much wisdom. It was in his old age that he observed one of life’s greatest paradoxes: “Life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.” Here is some of his timeless wisdom:
The noblest question in the world is: “What good may I do in it?”
There is too much stress today on material things. I try to teach my children not so much the value of cents, but a sense of values.
While we may not be able to control all that happens to us, we can control what happens inside us.
Having been poor is no shame, but being ashamed of it is.
Money can help you get medicines but not health. Money can help you to get soft pillows, but not sound sleep. Money can help you get material comforts, but not eternal bliss. Money can help you get ornaments, but not beauty. Money will help you to get an electric earphone, but not natural hearing. Attain the supreme wealth, wisdom, and you will have everything.
In dealings between people, truth, sincerity and integrity are of the utmost importance to the felicity of life.
Happiness consists more in small conveniences or pleasures that occur every day, than in great pieces of good fortune that happen but seldom to a
person in the course of their life.
Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.
He does not possess wealth that allows it to possess him.
There are two ways of being happy. We may either diminish our wants or augment our means — either will do — the result is the same. If you are
wise you will do both at the same time; and if you are very wise you will do both in such a way as to augment the general happiness of society.
Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. There is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of its filling a vacuum, it makes one. If it satisfies one want, it doubles and trebles that want another way.
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For further reading: Benjamin Franklin an American Life by Walter Isaacson