Living by a Code

As Bunk said in The Wire, “A man must have a code.”

The Virtuous Life
Art of Manliness ran a series of Benjamin Franklin’s Pursuit of the Virtuous Life, a challenge originated by Aristotle. After reading about his pursuit and personal finance lessons, it strenghthened my need to continually evaluate myself across a set of principles. Establishing the principles is the first step, holding myself accountable on a daily basis is what makes it work. Franklin used a small book of 13 charts to record his daily progress in his quest for moral perfection. When he violated a virtue, he placed a dot next to it. His goal was to minimize the number of marks each day. The key for me and Franklin made this point hit home, is to minimize the number of “marks” against my code. It is a daily challenge, but one I am willing to do in an effort to better myself for my family and friends. It also helps me to set an example for my children to follow because it is never too early to develop one’s personal code. And when one has a code, it provides a base for any tough decisions that arise. Thus providing a sense of freedom because the decision was made ahead of time when the code was developed.

The Code of the West
A co-worker let me borrow the book, “Cowboy Ethics“. As I flipped through the book, I landed on the page that listed the 10 convenants for the Code of the West. The first one, “Live Each Day with Courage“, sets the tone for the rest of the list. More importantly, living each day with courage gives us a chance to make each day great. As I went through the list, I thought about how many of these I already do and what I personally needed to do to accomplish the rest. It was good reminder for me to look at all I do to make sure it is in line with my code, which helps me finish things and not take shortcuts. While the Code of the West might not be for you, it is important to have a standard that will guide and enable you to live you life to the fullest each day.

The Code of the West
1. Live Each Day with Courage
2. Take Pride in Your Work
3. Always Finish What You Start
4. Do What has To Be Done
5. Be Tough, But Fair
6. When You Make a Promise, Keep It
7. Ride for the Brand
8. Talk Less and Say More
9. Remember That Some Things Aren’t For Sale
10. Know Where To Draw the Line

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