My husband has been listening to this podcast called ‘The Thomas Jefferson Hour’ for years. Sometimes he will play an episode on our car trips. The podcast is not just about Thomas Jefferson. Clay Jenkinson, the host, will do the whole podcast as Thomas Jefferson. To be even more specific, they record the podcast in a barn in North Dakota and I think that Mr. Jenkinson dresses the part. But, I’m not sure about that last bit.
I find the show terribly interesting and I look forward to a new episode each week. I enjoy learning about the man who wrote the Declaration of Independence. You will be surprised to know that he was really a bookish, shy fellow.
Lately, I decided to do a little more reading on Mr. Jefferson’s life. One of the interesting things I found out about him was he had a list of ten rules that would allow a person to have a good life. I’ve gone over them and they seem to be incredibly practical and useful. I believe that any person would be able to use at least one rule in any situation in life. So, I’ve decided to implement them in my life. Here they are, the “Decalogue of Canons for observation in practical life”.
- Never put off till to-morrow what you can do to-day.
- Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.
- Never spend your money before you have it.
- Never buy what you do not want, because it is cheap; it will be dear to you.
- Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst and cold.
- We never repent of having eaten too little.
- Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
- How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened.
- Take things always by their smooth handle.
- When angry, count ten, before you speak; if very angry, an hundred.
As I was trying to think of the best ways to integrate them into my life, I learned that another one of our founding fathers took those rules and started to apply them to his own life. That man was Benjamin Franklin, a printer, diplomat, scientist, inventor, author, and statesman. His approach to Thomas Jefferson’s rules was to work on a single rule independently. He would pick one rule each week and concentrate on that particular rule, then the next week he would choose another. After ten weeks, he would start over until he felt he had mastered all of them. I’m not sure if Benjamin Franklin ever felt that he truly mastered all of the rules. But, I am sure that he was more masterful that most people. He definitely lived a full and rich life.
I’ve decided to follow in Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin’s footsteps to work towards a better and more productive life. The first rule I am going to work on in my life is, do not put off until tomorrow what you can do today. I’ll review what happened and what I learned along the way. Each subsequent week I will take on a new rule.
Once I’m finished, like Benjamin Franklin, I will just start again until they all become a part of my life. Practice makes permanent!
Photo credit: http://www.jeffersonhour.com/Images/Original%20DecalogueLOC.jpg