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17 Priceless Pearls of Career Wisdom From Benjamin Franklin

Topics: Career Advice
Benjamin Franklin was a lot cooler than most folks today realize, although back in his day he was wildly popular. (He was even an inadvertent trendsetter in France, starting a fad for hairstyles that resembled his fur cap.) He was the ultimate polymath, a passionate scientist, inventor, printer, writer, prankster, activist (please look into the story of Silence Dogood) and so much more. Among other things, Franklin invented bifocals, the lightning rod, and even swim fins, and we have him to thank for modern institutions we still rely upon today such as libraries, fire stations, and even daylight saving time. The contributions of this founding father are staggering, but perhaps it's his wisdom and his sayings that have ultimately made the greatest contribution to our society.

(Photo Credit: ConspiracyofHappiness/Flickr)

Let’s take a look at a handful of Franklin’s pearls of wisdom that relate to career. These gems weren’t all intended to relate directly to work-life, but Benjamin Franklin had a way of framing his ideas about life in general that can be applied in so many ways. See if there isn’t something here that makes you stop and think.

1. “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

2. “If a man could have half his wishes, he would double his troubles.”

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3. “Never ruin an apology with an excuse.”

4. “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.”

5. “Sell not virtue to purchase wealth nor liberty to purchase power.”

6. “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

7. “Trouble knocked on the door, but, hearing laughter, hurried away.”

8. “Believe none of what you hear, and only half of what you see.”

9. “When you are finished changing, you’re finished.”

10. “He who can have patience can have what he will.”

11. “While we may not be able to control all that happens to us, we can control what happens inside us.”

12. “There are lazy minds as well as lazy bodies.”

13. “No one cares what you know until they know that you care.”

14. “What you would seem to be, be really.”

15. “Being ignorant is not so much a shame as being unwilling to learn.”

16. “Diligence is the mother of good luck.”

17. “Never leave till tomorrow that which you can do today.”

Benjamin Franklin’s ideas still make us stop and think today. If you’re hungry for more, check out some of his other famous quotes, look into his biography a bit more, or consider reading some of his famed Poor Richard’s Almanack. It certainly would be time well spent.

The quotes used for this piece were collected from Franklin’s page on and from

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