Each year one vicious habit discarded, in time might make the worst of us good.

What did Benjamin Franklin mean by:

Each year one vicious habit discarded, in time might make the worst of us good.


This quote emphasizes the power of incremental change over time. It suggests that if we focus on eliminating one harmful habit each year, we could eventually transform ourselves significantly. The idea is rooted in the concept of continuous self-improvement and the belief that no one is beyond redemption.

The “vicious habit” mentioned in the quote can be any negative behavior or pattern that hinders personal growth or well-being. It could be something tangible like smoking or excessive drinking, or intangible like procrastination or negativity. The philosophy here is that, rather than trying to overhaul one’s life all at once, which can be overwhelming and often unsustainable, it’s more effective to focus on one small change at a time.

The quote also underscores the importance of patience in the process of self-improvement. Change, especially meaningful and lasting change, takes time. “In time might make the worst of us good” implies that even those who consider themselves deeply flawed or ‘the worst’ can, over time, become ‘good’ through consistent, incremental self-improvement efforts.

In today’s fast-paced world, this idea is more relevant than ever. We often seek quick fixes and instant gratification, but this quote reminds us of the power and value of slow, steady, and consistent progress. It encourages us to be more patient with ourselves and others in the journey of personal growth.

In terms of personal development, this philosophy can be applied in various ways. For instance, someone could choose to focus on improving their physical health by discarding the habit of eating junk food one year, then work on their mental health by discarding the habit of negative self-talk the next year. Alternatively, someone could focus on discarding professional habits that hinder their career growth, like procrastination or inability to delegate. The key is to identify a ‘vicious habit’, work on discarding it over a year, and then move on to the next one, thus facilitating continuous personal development.

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