The Master List of Virtues, Vices, and Values

I began collecting “virtues” at the age of 13, when a teacher showed us Ben Franklin’s Virtues Experiment. At the age of 20, he was determined to improve his character, so he identified 13 virtues that he would practice, keeping track of his successes and failures. As I recall, we did this same practice for two weeks, making marks on a spreadsheet, similar to Franklin’s, to track our progress. Here are Franklin’s 13:

  1. Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  2. Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  3. Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  4. Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  5. Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
  6. Industry. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  7. Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
  8. Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  9. Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  10. Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
  11. Tranquillity. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  12. Chastity. Rarely use venery(sex) but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
  13. Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

In 9th grade, I studied all the religious traditions, and found that they all agreed about the characteristics of “a good person,” which was codified most commonly in the Golden Rule. It appears in almost every religion: Treat others as you would have them treat you. Do not do to others what you don’t want done to you.

At the same time, as a budding teenager, I was anxious to break Franklin’s advice about chastity, which seemed like a waste to my hormone-filled body (“Chaste Makes Waste” was a popular saying during the sexual revolution). I was reading Playboy magazines at the time (at least SOME of it was reading), and Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Philosophy was right up my alley: enjoy sex, be respectful, liberate yourself, think rationally, make sure your partner has an orgasm, and enjoy yourself! Some of Franklin’s other virtues, such as cleanliness, frugality, and temperance, went out the window during the Hippie era.

Fortunately, over many decades, I matured, and the Virtues came back into focus. I began studying and collecting them. The result is my Master List of Virtues, which I am happy to share with you. Just fill out the form below.

And of course, you can’t talk about Virtues without talking about their opposite, Vices, so I collected them, as well. In addition, the word Values is often used as a “less religious” version of virtues, so I also included values on my list as well, and articulate the difference.

My partner, Carista Luminare, Ph.D., had coincidentally been researching virtues throughout her lifetime as well. When we got together, and found that surprising common interest, it was love (and temperance, and chastity) at first sight. Over time, when the time was right, we finally let Chastity go… We created a complete Virtues Assessment, which we use in our professional coaching and training programs. We developed a simpler version for the public, which I will also send to you.

Fill out the form below and I’ll send you The Master List and the Mini Virtues Assessment.

May your virtues guide your life.

Lion Goodman, PCC