For some people—starting with me—the words “health, wealth and wisdom” conjure up the image of Benjamin Franklin publishing proverbs of common-sense wisdom in Poor Richard’s Almanack.
Early to bed, early to rise, makes a [wo]man healthy, wealthy and wise.
Some folks (many?) probably don’t make the connection between Ben Franklin and health, wealth and wisdom.
Health, wealth and wisdom. I see these three words as an integrated, holistic triad that signifies both the philosophy for, and evidence of, a successful and happy life.
The Ben Franklin Follies: Does this work as a brand concept?
One reason this site has been dormant for such a long time is that I’ve spent way too long trying to decide whether to scrap “The Ben Franklin Follies” as a way to help brand my holistic, integrative philosophy about what makes a life a good life. I’ve had a few folks confirm that they just didn’t get the connection.
But I’m such a fan of Ben’s common-sense pragmatic wisdom that I can’t give it up yet.
A part of me wonders whether it does more harm than good to use Ben Franklin to help brand a website devoted to an integrated life philosophy. What do you think?
Your opinion matters a lot to me right now, as I prepare to relaunch The Ben Franklin Follies with a mission to help others along the path to health, wealth and wisdom.
Why even consider Ben Franklin as relevant?
It’s not just Ben Franklin’s wisdom that attracts me, but his commitment to curiosity, exploration, discovery and ideas. He was a foodie, a journalist and writer, a thinker, a reader, a networker and a conversationalist. A multipotentialite. A Renaissance person.
Ben Franklin was also a strategic branding genius.
Two examples, among many:
When he started his printing business, Franklin made it a point to walk to work early and go home late, as a way to signify industriousness to others.
When he first visited France, Franklin wore the fur cap with which he’s famously associated as a way to endear himself to the French people. His branding strategy worked.
When I first started a blog using the name The Ben Franklin Follies, I approached it as my playground to explore whatever I found interesting, in the same way that Ben Franklin chose not to be limited to a single profession or hobby or pursuit. But when I decided a few years ago to start thinking of my blog as business, I realized I needed to find a way to narrow the scope of topics.
Ultimately, because I can’t limit myself to the serial pursuit of singular ideas, I decided to set up separate and distinctive websites for my various interests.
Separate websites means I can be more helpful, focused, and useful in service to specific communities. I’ve been slowly creating the spokes that connect back to me–my personal “brand”–which is this website.
Health Wealth & Wisdom As One Niche
Although some people would argue these are three disparate topics, I don’t think so. In my philosophy they are integrated. I think Ben Franklin would agree.
Although a person can have a lot of money and a “high net worth” in an accounting sense without being physically healthy, that person won’t truly be wealthy without meaningful relationships and a well-rounded life in service to others.
What is health? Does it mean simply the absence of disease? Is it about physical fitness? If a person has a physical disability does that mean he or she doesn’t have health?
I think health is bigger and broader than physical fitness. Consider the professional athlete who may be at the pinnacle of “fitness” as defined by his or her sport and yet suffer from the consequences of traumatic brain injury or depression when the career ends.
Wisdom comes from experience coupled with learning and growth. We aren’t born wise. More than a few fully-grown adults lack wisdom. Yet some young adults display wisdom far beyond their years.
As I see it, when we’re fully integrated, health wealth and wisdom can be represented by concentric circles. Take a look at the logo icon I had designed for The Ben Franklin Follies. Three concentric circles that signify a happy and integrated life.
In reality, we usually don’t have 100% overlap, it’s more like a Venn diagram. But that’s OK. Because where health, wealth and wisdom exist simultaneously we find happiness.
But I can only do that if there’s a connection.
Does this make sense?
Does the Ben Franklin association work for you? Does it trigger something else in your mind? I’d love to hear your thoughts about this in the comments below.
A variation of this post can be found here.