Black Dots And Virtues
The young man had achieved enormous success by the time he was twenty-seven years old. He was very bright, well-read, and he felt like he had the world by the tail. But one day he realized something: he wasn't very happy! Many people disliked him because they perceived him as haughty and overbearing. He felt that he was no longer in command of his life's direction, much less his ultimate destiny.
He decided that he would take control of his life by setting a higher standard for himself, developing a strategy to achieve that higher standard, and creating a system so that he could measure his results daily. He began by selecting "twelve virtues" - twelve states that he wanted to experience every day - that he felt would take his life in the direction he wanted. Then he took out his journal and wrote down all the twelve states, and next to his list he created a grid of all the days of the month. "Every time I violate any of these virtues", he said, "I will put a small black dot next to that value for that day. My goal is to hav no black dots on my chart. Then I will know I am truly living these virtues."
He was so proud of his idea that he showed jis journal and explained his system to a friend. His friend said, "Great! Only I think you should add humility to your list of virtues." And Benjamin Franklin laughed and added the 13th virtue to his list.