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Inspiration from Benjamin Franklin

Estimated Lesson Time: 2 minutes

Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790) was perhaps the most famous American in history who was best known for being an American statesman and inventor.

Success is not limiting yourself. Franklin became famous for being a scientist, an inventor, a statesman, a printer, a philosopher, a musician, and an economist.

Success is turning frustration into opportunities. Franklin had poor vision and needed glasses to read. He became tired of constantly taking his glasses off and putting them back on again. Franklin used this frustration to create a way to see both near and far without the need for taking off his glasses. He had two pairs of spectacles cut in half and put half of each lens in a single frame. Today, we call them bifocals.

After Franklin’s “retirement,” he spent much time reading books. However, he found he had great difficulty reaching for books high on his shelves. He created a long wooden arm with a claw on the end to assist him with this task and ease his frustration.

Success is doing what you feel is right in your heart despite public opinion. After both physical and mental abuse by one of Ben’s older brothers, Ben decided to run away to Philadelphia in 1723, even though running away was illegal at the time.

Success is work. Franklin had a simple formula for success. He believed that successful people worked just a little harder than other people.

Success is knowing when to move on. In 1748, Franklin’s business was flourishing so he retired, turning it over to his foreman in return for a regular stipend. He did this so he would have more time for his scientific pursuits.

Success is spawned from the desire to help others. Ben’s older brother, John, suffered from kidney stones and Ben wanted to help him feel better. Ben developed a flexible urinary catheter that appears to have been the first one produced in America.

Success is not about being an only child or about getting attention from parents. Ben was one of 17 siblings!

Success is living usefully. Franklin had a strong belief that good citizenship included an obligation of public service and served his state and country for most of his life. To Benjamin Franklin, there was no greater purpose in life than to “live usefully.”

[Sources: http://www.ushistory.org, http://www.lucidcafe.com, http://www.biography.com]


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