I’ve been listening to as well as reading Ryan Holiday’s book Discipline is Destiny. Every employer and every employee in the country should be required to read this book.  It has baffled me why 4 million people, according to a number of authorities, just plain dropped out of the workforce. Some say it is the result of “long Covid,” some say it’s the result of the government paying people not to work.

My sense, having been doing what I do since 1973, is that this is been coming for a long time. For many years, the baby boomer generation has been fighting for jobs. Our generation was led by countless leaders who built companies around their own discipline that infected other people. We were the “pig in the Python” for numbers of people in the job market. For 20 to 25 years competition for jobs was great. Every one of us knew that there were at least two people who wanted our job if we quit or got fired. But now 2.3 million of those boomers retired early.

And as a result, the attitude towards work by the majority of present workers (and I talked to at least 25 or 30 people a day) is just different. Over the years people have gone from an attitude of “we” to an attitude of “me.” Everything from the government reinforcing people not to work to “I want to work from home and that’s all there is to it”, we have lost prior work regimented discipline. I’m asked by more and more candidates, even with 15 and 20 years of experience, “what are the benefits?” “What is the PTO policy?” “How flexible are the hours?” “I have to drive more than 30 minutes, and you expect me to do that?”

What Holiday’s book does is remind us of all of the discipline that numerous leaders of the world have had. He also reminds us that they were not perfect people. In fact they were hardly perfect at all. He reminds us of the many personal challenges they had as well as their many sins. The lessons are abundantly clear.


  • Gives employees strength to endure with difficult clients/coworkers

  • Catapults workers from satisfactory to tremendous performers

  • Helps employees set goals and career direction

We all have challenges, we all fall but it is self-discipline that enables people to persist until they reach their goals.

Unfortunately, I don’t see as much self-discipline and people as I think there used to be. For example, those 4 million people that have simply dropped out of the workforce, where is their self-discipline? I’m not talking about a self-discipline like a Tom Brady or Lebron James. I’m simply talking about the self-discipline of willingness to work, willingness to apply yourself, willingness to really try.

What happened to workplace self-discipline?