Discover the Formula One of the Founding Fathers Used to Power His Success …

One of the most influential books on success and personal excellence was written more than 200 years ago.

The author thought himself to be a simple man of ordinary ability. He started his career as a small, badly in debt printer in Philadelphia.

But having an inventive mind, he devised a method of success so simple that anyone who had the determination to follow it could succeed in life.

This man felt he owed all his success and happiness in life to it. He was an accomplished statesman, inventor, author, scientist, and more.

The man was Benjamin Franklin. The book is his autobiography.

Franklin’s book – and the success formula in it – has influenced countless people since then, including top salesman, motivational speaker, and author Frank Bettger.

Bettger dedicated the last chapter of his own bestseller, How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling, to Franklin's success secrets. He writes that he'd never met anyone who actually used Franklin's system.

Surprising because Franklin dedicates 15 pages of his autobiography to it, more than he dedicates to any other subject. He even writes that he hopes "some of my descendants may follow the example and reap the benefit."

What was Franklin’s formula?

He chose 13 subjects that he felt were necessary for him to master. Each week, he gave strict attention to each subject one at a time. Franklin's reasoning was that it would be best not to scatter your attention by attempting all 13 at once.

In the 14th week, he'd start over again. He'd repeat this cycle four (13 X 4 = 52) times the first year. (Note: For a list of the 13 subjects Franklin used, read my article What Would Ben Franklin Do?)

In the second year, because it was ingrained in him, Franklin found he only had to go through the cycle once. In ensuing years, he'd repeat it once every several years. Doing so kept Franklin from inadvertently forgetting about one or more of the subjects and kept him focused on improving in all thirteen areas.

Bettger decided to follow Franklin's formula. But since the subjects on Franklin's list didn't all apply to Bettger, he customized the list. He kept six of Franklin's topics and added seven new ones.

Then Bettger wrote down each principle on a 3"x 5"card with a brief summary of its principles. With each week, Bettger says, he got a clearer understanding of his subject. Plus, his business became more interesting and exciting.

Now, Bettger was a salesman. So he geared his list to his profession.

And just like he derived his list from Franklin's by modernizing and customizing it, I've put together a list that is more suitable for a writer:

  1. Enthusiasm
  2. Order: self-organization
  3. Think in terms of others' interests
  4. Prospecting
  5. Social media
  6. Improving my website
  7. Self-discipline and boosting productivity
  8. Knowledge of my business
  9. Sincerity, appreciation, gratitude, acts of kindness, and praise
  10. Smile: happiness
  11. Focus on opportunities, not problems
  12. Enhancing my reputation
  13. Self-confidence

Why not give it a try? Change the above list in any way you feel fits you best. Write each topic on a 3"x 5" card with a brief summary of its principles. Each week, pay extra attention to that particular topic.

For example, in the enthusiasm week, Bettger recommends you look at yourself in the mirror each morning and say, "Force yourself to act enthusiastic, and you'll become more enthusiastic." Then whatever you do during that week, pay special attention to do it enthusiastically. Write with enthusiasm. Prospect with enthusiasm. Do everything with a flair that shows people how happy you are to be alive.

(If you're looking for "enthusiasm suggestions," check out my article 16 Ways to Put More Enthusiasm in Your Work and Life.)

If it worked for Ben Franklin and Frank Bettger, there's no reason why it won't work for you and me.

What do you think? Does the above system make sense to you? Whether you think it will work or not, I'd love to hear what you think of it. Please post your comments below.

In Monday's issue of The Writer's Life, I included a link to my article 16 Tips for Establishing the Right Mindset for Living a Life of Personal Excellence.

If you're continually striving towards personal excellence, please check out its "sister" article, Seven Steps to Personal Excellence and Achieving All Your Goals in Life.

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Published: April 6, 2012

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