What can a group of virtual experts do for you?
Long ago, high achievers realized that they needed to tap into other people’s knowledge and experience to solve problems and reach new levels of growth.
One of the greatest examples of tapping into the experience of others begins with Benjamin Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin was one of the founding fathers of the USA and the only one to sign the four key documentsUS establishment. He was also a printer, author, philosopher, politician, statesman, diplomat, scientist, economist, and inventor.
Benjamin Franklin was not born the older brother with overcoming traits, as many of us see today. He was the 15th of 17 children. Ben’s father did not graduate from college; he made soap and candles. He was a merchant.
The most fundamental trait that he passed on to his children was his love of reading. Benjamin’s mother realized that while her home was crowded and noisy, she was committed to making it a healthy and happy home.
At the age of 8, Benjamin’s father sent him to South Grammar School, later called the “Boston Latin” school, preparing young Benjamin to be a minister. Two years later, Josiah ran out of money and brought Benjamin home to work with him in the candle making business.
Apprentice at the age of 12 in a printing press:
Benjamin loved to read and learn. He borrowed books from his friends. From these books he learned grammar, philosophy and arithmetic. Every time he saved a little money he would buy books to read and learn. His friends also loved to read books and regularly studied and discussed them.
When Benjamin was 12 years old, Josiah apprenticed him to his oldest son, James, who was a printer. The apprenticeship was signed for 7 years. (Yes… at the age of 12!)
“New England Current”:
James Franklin started his “New England Courant” newspaper in Boston in 1721 when his brother Benjamin was 15 years old. It was the third newspaper in Boston. James and his friends wrote articles, opinions, news of the day, announcements and other information.
Benjamin’s Beginning Writer career:
Benjamin began writing articles and asked his brother James to publish them in his newspaper. James refused! So, 16-year-old Benjamin, under the pseudonym Silence Dogood (she wrote as Widow Dogood, a 40-year-old widow). Benjamin put his letters under James’s door every two weeks.
Benjamin Franklin at age 16 became the printer and publisher of his brother’s “New-England Courant.” James had written an article against the government and was jailed. The following year, 17-year-old Benjamin Franklin became printer and editor of his brother’s “Courant” newspaper for the second time. James, this time, wrote an article “mocking religion.” Once again the court made the decision to imprison him. James escaped from the city.
By September 1723, Benjamin Franklin had had enough of his brother’s “abuse and strict control.” He escaped by traveling to New York and then Philadelphia in search of a new opportunity in the printing business. He worked at several different jobs during this time.
Birth of the Benjamin Franklin Together Club in Philadelphia:
At 21, Benjamin Franklin founded the Junto Club, a 12-man weekly discussion group. Another name later given to their “Junto Club” was the “Leather Apron Club”.
Benjamin decided that merchants should have the opportunity for an education just like wealthy people who could send their children to colleges/universities.
The difference for him was reading books, learning from them and discussing them with other people who loved to read, learn, improve and discuss what they read. He thought this would be a great draw. (Today we call it a “think tank, a mastermind” group.)
What questions should you ask your prospective members of your Master Mind or Junto?
What 4 questions did Benjamin Franklin ask potential Junto Club members to “qualify” them for membership?
“Each person was also asked to stand up, place their hand on their heart, and answer the following questions”: (Updated to 21st century English)
1) “Do you feel “any disrespect” for any of our members?” Answer. I do not.
2. “Do you ‘sincerely’ declare that you love humanity, regardless of your profession or religion?” Answer. I make.
3. “Should anyone be harmed in body, name or property, because of their opinions or their religion?” Answer. Nope.
4. “Do you love the truth and will you strive to find it, receive it and communicate it to others?” Answer. Yes.
In Benjamin Franklin’s Memoirs he wrote “had made up most of my witty acquaintance in a club mutual improvementwhat we call the Together; we get Friday nights. The rules I drew up required each member, in turn, to produce one or more queries on any point of Morals, Politics, or Natural Philosophy, to be discussed by the company; and once every three months produce and read an essay of his own writing, on any subject he pleases”.
It was agreed to have “12” members who “were merchants and artisans.” Club Junto continued for 38 years. When they saw a problem, a need, they found a solution. Education began with the first public libraries in 1731. From the personal libraries of Junto members, they collected books for the first lending library in Philadelphia. Learning through reading, educating everyone regardless of their financial situation. Education for Benjamin Franklin was the great equalizer.
After fires killed people, destroyed homes and businesses, Benjamin and his Junto members started the Union Fire Company, a volunteer fire department, in 1736 in Philadelphia. They also started a Volunteer Militia to protect and secure the colony.
Where they saw a need, a solution would follow.
In 1749, Benjamin Franklin involved some of the Junto members in designing the University of Pennsylvania and in 1751, the Pennsylvania Hospital was founded by Benjamin Franklin and his Together. When Benjamin Franklin saw a need, he worked to find a solution by leading the way with the members of Junto. Teamwork at its finest!
Here are 3 things to consider when forming your master mind:
1. Identify the values of your mastermind. Will it be a business conference? Bible study? Marriage Strengthening? It’s up to you.
2. Limit your group to 6 people. Bigger than that and it’s impossible to handle.
3. Understand that part of the mastermind is holding others accountable. Be prepared to give and receive responsibility.
So who would you like to have in your virtual brain and what would be your criteria?