The foundation for developing personal power is Discipline. Simple; not easy.

I almost started this article by saying, “Please forgive me if I’m going on a bit of a rant today.” Forget about it; I am going on a rant and I’m not asking for anyone’s forgiveness, indulgence or permission. These are the facts and what I’m about to share with you is the truth: period.

Lately I’ve been networking with a lot of business people and employers. I sat in on two meetings sponsored by my local Chamber of Commerce focusing on the development of a quality workforce. These people are all very concerned; so am I.

These leaders in commerce are telling me that young people today are less and less prepared to enter the workforce. While education is always a concern, the primary concern is that young people attempting to enter the workforce are not disciplined, are not willing to accept responsibility, don’t possess fundamental social skills including even a basic understanding of protocol in the workplace and many of them don’t even know how to dress for a job interview.

A major portion of my life is still dedicated to teaching martial arts and many of my students are young people. Martial arts instructors all over the country are expressing the same concerns! We’re seeing children in our programs lacking a basic understanding of respect, ignorance of fundamental etiquette, deficiency in communication skills and a disregard for authority.

Our legislators are hard at work drafting solutions to these problems. We’ve got to invest more in our schools, right? We’ve got to attract better teachers, right? We’ve got to do more to encourage our best and brightest young people to live and work in our communities, right?


We’ve got to teach all people, young and otherwise, that true success and happiness is built on a foundation of self-discipline and personal responsibility. We’ve got to wake up to the fact that our school systems are not designed to provide surrogate parenting. We better realize, and quickly, that if we don’t want to devolve into a complete welfare state, we better do something to reverse the social disease called “entitlement mentality.”

Success and happiness are products of personal power. To be successful and happy, you’ve got to have some sense of self-worth and self-valuation, and that’s ultimately what I’m calling personal power. You can’t gift someone self-worth, self-worth is earned through hard work over time. Self-valuation happens when you accomplish something. Success is the produce of achievement, not a prize won in a cultural lottery.

People are surprised when I cite data that shows that the greatest incidences of substance abuse, suicide and depression occur in the most developed societies. Why should this information surprise anyone? Over 80% of lottery winners end up broke! You can’t “win” success and happiness; you must create it!

Through my life as a martial artist I learned how to develop power. In the martial arts world, this process is often called “Kung Fu.” As I studied this process for my own development I realized that power is developed through motivation and discipline over time. These ideas became the foundation of my Dynamic Components of Personal Power philosophy. To create a happy and productive life, you’ve got to put in the work! You’ve got to put in the work for a long, long time!

We’ve got to once again start teaching our young people that work matters. We’ve got to teach them that they’ll spend much of their lives engaged in work; that they should choose work that matters to them and work that provides rewards above and beyond the paycheck. For years young people have been indoctrinated with messages of entitlement, selfishness and greed. We’ve got to inoculate them with messages of discipline, self-reliance and personal responsibility.

We’ve also got to take this message to some who in their youth might have missed it!

Success doesn’t start in school; the school should help develop good success habits. Success, discipline and self-worth start at home, and start within each of us. Whether you’re a parent, a teacher, a coach, an employer or just someone who cares; take the time to teach these values to a young person in your life.

Most of all model these values and become a living example of success and happiness.

Author's Bio: 

Jim is an Instigational Speaker and author of Dynamic Components of Personal Power. Visit for more information and resources including FREE PowerPAGE ezine and PowerPOD podcast programs!