Ben Franklin’s Biggest Regret

In 1736 the unthinkable happened. Ben Franklin, long an opponent of inoculating children against Smallpox, lost his son Franky to the disease. Losing a child must be the greatest burden a parent could bear, but to do so in this manner surely yielded extra heartache to Franklin and his wife Deborah, who had born no other children.

Years later in his autobiography Franklin wrote, “I long regretted bitterly and still regret that I had not given it (smallpox) to him by inoculation. This I mention for the sake of the parents who omit that operation, on the supposition that they should never forgive themselves if a child died under it; my example showing that the regret may be the same either way, and that, therefore, the safer should be chosen.”

Why did this happen?

Franklin’s stance stemmed from an old publishing rivalry back in Boston against the preacher Cotton Mathers. Whether Franklin truly believed at the time inoculation was a bad idea, or whether he simply wanted to provoke controversy to sell more newspapers, is of debate.

Over the years Franklin changed his stance on inoculation and became an advocate of the practice. Alas, Franklin found himself so busy with work and organizing his various causes, he never arranged for young Franky to receive the vaccine.

Scientists writing in the journal Quality & Safety in Health Care, argued Franklin’s choice was not easy. Inoculation carried a 2% mortality risk, and young Franky was often in poor health, and thus would not have been a good candidate for the treatment. Inoculation was most important when a smallpox infection was occurring, and the one in Philadelphia happened fast and Franklin did not act fast enough. But in the end, Franklin was too busy focusing on his Vision for America than his vision for his family. His neglect to vaccinate his son would haunt Franklin for the next forty years. After this incident, Franklin became “the most eloquent advocate of smallpox inoculation.”

I sincerely hope no ETR reader ever loses a child. Let’s not even think about that. But you likely share in Franklin’s fault, and a lack of a clear vision for your life is robbing you of time that could be spent with your children and your spouse, or even your friends, health, and hobbies.

Without a vision, you let the world control your day, you let the chaos of the afternoon conquer your plans, and you come home too tired to concentrate on what counts at night. With each unnecessary email that you read, each useless meeting you attend, each distraction you allow into your life, you waste your days, getting home late for dinner, and missing out on the things that really matter to you in life. Every minute lost from this lack of control over the chaos of the day robs from your child, your health, your love, your home, and your heart.

This ends now.

You know what you need to do. You need to Control your mornings. You can do that by getting up 15 minutes earlier each day. You need to Conquer the chaos of the afternoon. You will do that by scripting your day and having cut-off points for meetings, telephone calls, and time spent in your inbox.

Finally, you must create a clear vision to Concentrate on what counts at night. First you must know what really matters to you. You must be clear with your vision for your life, family, wealth, health, and social self. Your Vision will allow you to set your goals, your goals will allow you to build the foundation for your life with strong pillars set in sturdy rock. Your foundation allows you to strongly create your code for living. Through your Vision you will come to Victory.

Your Vision is the roadmap for your life. It is the anchor keeping you safe. It is the foundation on which you build the rest of your life and the good habits that move you towards your big goals and dreams.

Vision inspires action. Action leads to habits. Habits lead to making the tough decisions and actions easier. Your vision comes from you, not from anyone else. It must be true to your heart, it must work as the foundation of your big goals and dreams, not what others want to plan for your life.

When you create your Vision, you can lead a full life, create a long-lasting legacy, and still have time to socialize and spend with your family at night. Learn how to create your Vision here =>