So, why would one of our great statesman make this statement? It sounds nice. It’s got a nice poetic jingle to it. But why would anyone want to get up early?!? First, let’s have a look at Mr. Franklin. He’s pretty easy to Google, and Wikipedia has a nice, long, really long bio on the man who discovered and harnessed electricity. He did some other stuff, too, like being the US Minister to France and Sweden, the US Postmaster General, and signer of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.
Pretty important and influential guy, wouldn’t you say? Do you think he was on to something, or was he just preaching? Well, Ben lived to see his 85th birthday, so he way outlived the average lifespan of a revolutionary in a time of revolution during the American revolution. So, he was healthy.
He wrote “Poor Richard’s Almanack”, which sold 10,000 copies per year. That was a LOT back in those days. Before he died, he bequeathed $4,400 (again, a LOT of money at the time) to the cities of Boston and Philadelphia. Considering the average annual income in America in 1785 was maybe $50 per year, as best as I can estimate from this survey from around that time, we can be pretty confident that Ben Franklin was not only healthy, but also very wealthy.
And, do we even need to talk about how brilliant Benjamin Franklin was? Franklin was an author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. He discovered electricity! He invented the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove, among other things. But being smart doesn’t necessarily equate to being wise, now does it? But given the following three quotations attributed to Franklin, I think we can say he was indeed wise.
- They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
- Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.
- It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.
Can we agree that Benjamin Franklin was healthy, wealthy, and wise? We can. But all this focus on getting up early is not fun. We should be focusing on the first part: early to bed! How many times have you looked back on your 9 year old self and mourned all those times you refused to take a nap? The listicles of benefits, zenefits (I made that word up), advantages, happinesses (made that one up, too), reasons, healthiness, and specific arguments for why women in particular should go to bed early are endless.
So, after reading all these reasons we should go to bed early and get up early, so we can be a fraction of the achiever Ben Franklin was, why don’t we do it?