Ben on Business | Industry

Industry. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions. BEN FRANKLIN
When Ben Franklin decided that it was not just possible but desirable to seek perfection, he drafted a list of 13 virtues.

These virtues or behaviors defined the scope of his personal self-improvement program.

Industry is virtue number six. To Ben, industry was a verb, an action not an entity, and throughout his life, he practiced his own advice.

By the age of 10, he was assisting his father in the family’s tallow and candle business. At the age of 12, he was apprenticed to his older brother, James, to learn the printing business, which became the foundation of his financial success.

When he was not working, he was writing. When he was not writing, he was studying French, Italian, Spanish and Latin. When he was not studying, he was founding hospitals and fire brigades to serve the community. When he was not serving his community, he was inventing. When he was not inventing, he was detailing plans for the union of the American colonies, shaping the Declaration of Independence, and helping to craft the Constitution.

The list goes on and on, until he retires from public life at the age of 82. He didn’t achieve his original goal of perfection, but he certainly mastered industry.

Reread his definition. Notice how simple, clear and precise it is?  In 14 words, he captured the essence of today’s Total Quality and Lean improvement efforts.

Lose no time. Focus on producing useful things. Eliminate wasteful action.

We can learn from Ben. Be industrious.



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