Ben Franklin’s Method for Identifying Values

From the time we were little, our parents, teachers, caretakers taught us certain governing values that have been programmed into our brains. It’s the “why” of life – why we do what we do. As we mature and become more aware of this programming, we can be more conscious of this “why”. Ben Franklin became very intentional about his “why” with the 13 Virtues he wrote. His method for finding these governing values can still be applied today to help you identify your highest priorities. Hyrum Smith said, “Your governing values are the foundation of personal fulfillment.”bens-method-final1.Identify virtues – Here is a list of sample governing values. Review the list and write down 5 that you identify with the most.

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2. Prioritize them – From your list, prioritize them in order of most important to less important. This exercise can help you to learn about yourself – what is actually most important to you?

3. Clarify what they mean to youBeauty or Faith can mean something very different from one person to the next. Take your prioritized list and write a clarifying statement for each. For example, if you chose Fitness, your clarifying statement could be,

“I am energetic and have adequate strength to accomplish the physical and mental tasks I undertake. I am physically active, getting enough exercise to help maintain a weight consistent with my heath and build.”

After you have done this, take some time to reflect on your list and your statements. Draw conclusions about what they mean to you. Do these governing values reflect your day-to-day tasks and your long-term goals? Put your list somewhere in your planner where you can refer to it often or get the Starter Pack and fill out the Values form. Allow your governing values to actually govern your daily tasks and how you prioritize what you get done in a day. This is the beginning of achieving what matters most and becoming who you want to be.

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