Ben Franklin is known for a few famous things. But, perhaps he is less known for some of the mental models and modes of thinking that enabled him to achieve such success.
From David McRaney’s book, You are Now Less Dumb, he extracts some of this from Franklin’s life as it pertains to actions and attitudes and beliefs:
For many things, your attitudes came from actions that led to observations that led to explanations that led to beliefs.
Your actions tend to chisel away at the raw marble of your persona, carving into being the self you experience from day to day. It doesn’t feel that way, though.
To conscious experience, it feels as if you were the one holding the chisel, motivated by existing thoughts and beliefs. It feels as though the person wearing your pants performed actions consistent with your established character, yet there is plenty of research suggesting otherwise.
The things you do often create the things you believe.
It’s the last line that gets me the most and that has made me pause for a few brief moments. If what I do may ultimately create the very things that I believe then even with the best motives I may end up doing exactly what I do not want to do (and believe).
That, of course, is the negative way of approaching it, but, there’s a very positive angle here too. It means that it’s also possible to create great good, despite our beliefs, if we act in a way that consistently aligns with those things as well, against all odds at times.
This is grace. This is hope. This means that we can build things of noble worth even if we don’t want to. Some times I find that writing is like that. I don’t do it for necessarily for others but I have been told that it has helped many, many people over the years.