The Secret of Success – Desire, Duty, or Dereliction?

14 03 2007

by Aaron Potts

People go through this thing that we call life and while some are incredibly successful, there are others who just “get by” until the final curtain is drawn. Determining your level of actual involvement in your life – and thus, your level of success – can be broken down into 3 categories: Desire, Duty, or Dereliction.


Following the path of desire is simply doing what you choose to do with your life. From a standpoint of health, wealth, and happiness, the person who follows their desires is fueled by one thing, and one thing only – their own desires.


A life filled with a dedication to duty is one where even though you keep your own desires in mind, your primary focus always seems to be on the welfare of others. Whether you are talking about a dedication to your children or your family, or if you have a very high work ethic, the person motivated by duty always has plenty of things to focus on.


Dereliction is a pretty strong term, but it needs to be because this type of person doesn’t care about much of anything. They aren’t necessarily “evil” as most people would consider the meaning of that term, but this person isn’t concerned about very much. Whether considering what happens with their own life, or considering the needs of others or the world at large, this person is pretty much just floating through life without any real sense of duty or desire.

So now the question becomes which one of those personality types is most likely to succeed? Each of those people will achieve massive success on their chosen path because they are doing exactly what they feel they are supposed to be doing, and so they will continue to attract that type of lifestyle.

The person who is completely driven by their own desires and refuses to do anything that doesn’t match that direction will rarely be found engaging in any activity that is not centered around whatever it is that they want to be doing at that moment.

The duty-bound individual will continually find new ways to be duty-bound. When one commitment is handled, they will attract or create a new commitment for themselves, often without even realizing that they are doing it.

For the person who is practicing the opposite of duty – dereliction – their entire focus is on not focusing on much of anything. By not having any real direction for their life, and by not really caring one way or the other about what happens with other people, this person will continue to manifest that lifestyle. Their circumstances will require them to have as little input or responsibility as possible. For a more clear definition of this individual, think one word: Teenagers.

So who is right? Which one of these people is going to have the most happiness in their life?

If you define happiness as being “successful,” then each of them will be just as happy. They will each attract into their lives the people and the circumstances that will allow them to continue to successfully be exactly the type of person that they are choosing to be.

The key to determining which one of them will be the most successful does not rely on “standard” markers such as financial success, career satisfaction, personal life, etc., because those methods of measuring success only matter to the person who cares about those types of measurements.

The “starving artist” doesn’t care about financial success, at least not initially. Your average painter, illustrator, sculptor, or musician would probably do what they do for free, as long as they still had a roof over their head and enough resources to survive.

A family-focused mother or father will gladly give of their time and their financial resources, usually to the point of putting their own health, retirement, and even their sanity on the line. Yet they continue to honor what they believe to be their commitment to their children, regardless of the consequences.

The person who doesn’t much care one way or the other will happily float through life without a real financial plan, without any solid family or friendship commitments, and without even knowing what their own life is going to hold in store for them. However, they are choosing that life for themselves, so does that make them wrong?

The answer to all of these questions is that none of these people are “right” and none of them are “wrong”. They are only seen in a positive or a negative light by the person who is observing them, and they are being judged by the observing person’s belief system.

The fact of the matter is that the concepts of “right” or “wrong” don’t really exist. All that exist are the belief systems of individuals, and it is neither appropriate nor even in our power to judge others based on what we believe to be true.

The “secret of success” is that each of these individuals is 100% successful because they are doing exactly what they choose to be doing with their lives. In fact, failure itself does not even exist, as it is just another example of one person’s beliefs about what is good or what is bad.

Desire, duty, and dereliction will all bring success to the individuals who live their lives from that point of view. Not because that point of view is right or wrong, but simply because that is what that person wants to do. What greater success is there than that?

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