The English Book of Common Prayer asks every man "to do his duty in that state of life to which God has called him." This is an ideal that should always remain uppermost in the human mind. A day is not properly ended until the duties it brought are discharged.
The great Roman statesman Cicero once said "No phase of life, whether public or private, can be free from duty." To do our duty brings us the greatest happiness, not to do it leaves us with a sense of discomfort.
Poet Wordsworth has called duty the stern daughter of the voice of "God". Indeed, it is conscience that urges a man on to his duty. No man can be so busy as not to have time for doing a work that has to be done. What is needed is the will to do it. A good rule is to do what is immediately before us. As Carlyle said, "Do that which lies nearest thee, which thou knowest to be a duty."
Hence, one should do one's duty first to himself, his moral being, one's family; then to the community, then to the rest of the world in ever-widening circles.
Many shirk duty because the path of the duty is often a thorny path. In responding to that call of duty we become heroes ourselves.
Some again seek praise or reward for the performance of a duty. This, however, is not to be thought of. "In doing what we ought", said Saint Augustine, "we deserve no praise, because it is our duty that we do." The story of the poor railway man, who saved a passenger train from disaster but refused any reward, should be written in letters of gold -'Doing one's allotted duty brings its own reward'. If any reward comes unexpectedly and unsought, the joy of it is all the sweeter. Gandhji also said so about public servants.
Another thing to remember is that in doing our duty we may not always give pleasure to others. There are unpleasant duties like thankless jobs when, for example, we have to stand up against a social wrong, or express our disapproval of a wrong-doer. In other words, duty has to be done without either seeking rewards from or the goodwill of others, "To thy own self be true".
"The path of duty is the way to glory", said poet Tennyson. The sense of duty determines human destiny. If we do our duty each day, we will continually climb upward. Desire for fame should not be the incentive to duty; true glory is only the reward of duty faithfully done.
There is a loftier consideration. The world has to march forward. The performance of duty by each one of us is the power that drives the world in its forward march. If by doing our duties at home we bring to it peace and happiness, by discharging our duties to our country or community, we ensure the same blessings to a larger world.
So let us do our duty with all our heart, not in the expectation of a reward but because it is the fulfillment of our destiny. We will surely have the supreme satisfaction in the approval of our conscience, which is the sweetest of all rewards for performing our duties.