Aligning your purpose with what you ought to do and fulfilling that purpose.

a.k.a. responsibility

Complementary virtues

Contrasting vices


Virtues possibly in tension


How to acquire or strengthen it


Notes and links

Mentioned elsewhere


Inspirational quotes

  • “[L]et him who gropes painfully in darkness or uncertain light, and prays vehemently that the dawn may ripen into day, lay this other precept well to heart, which to me was of invaluable service: ‘Do the duty which lies nearest thee,’ which thou knowest to be a Duty! Thy second duty will already have become clearer.” ―Thomas Carlyle (Sartor Resartus)
  • “The situation that has not its Duty, its Ideal, was never yet occupied by man. Yes here, in this poor, miserable, hampered, despicable Actual, wherein thou even now standest, here or nowhere is thy Ideal: work it out therefrom; and working, believe, live, be free.” ―Thomas Carlyle (Sartor Resartus)
  • “‘If a man put duty first and success after, will not that improve his character? If he attack his own failings instead of those of others, will he not remedy his personal faults? For a morning’s anger to forget his own safety and invoke that of his relatives, is not this irrational?” (Analects of Confucius, XII.XXI.3)
  • “The Philosopher Tsêng said: ‘A wise man, even in his thoughts, does not stray from his own duty.’” (Analects of Confucius, XIV.XXVIII)
  • “The wise man makes duty, not a living, his aim; for there is hunger even for a farmer, and sometimes emolument for a scholar! But the wise man is anxious about his duty, not about poverty.” (Analects of Confucius, XV.XXXI)
  • “Never shirk the proper dispatch of your duty, no matter if you are freezing or hot, groggy or well-rested, vilified or praised, not even if dying or pressed by other demands. Even dying is one of the important assignments of life and, in this as in all else, make the most of your resources to do well the duty at hand.” —Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 6.2