Jim Rohn always shared that “Genius comes in strange packages” and that you must be careful about the advice that you take from people. I’m going to share a special insight he told me about his mentor, Earl Shoaff, in a bit, but first let me share this:
Just because someone has mastered or gets positive results from one, or a few select areas of their lives does not mean they have mastered everything else in their lives. Modeling the finest traits, philosophies, habits and actions of successful people is admirable, even prudent.
The mistake is made when you think that just because someone is successful in one area of life, that they have all the answers about everything else. Trust me when I tell you that they don’t!
Is an Academy Award winning actor or actress in a position to give advice, coaching and training on acting? Absolutely. Is a Grammy winning musician in a position to give advice or insights on singing, playing and performing? Absolutely.
What they are not qualified to do is to give you advice on how to live your life.
How many musicians, actors, etc, who are constantly in the limelight for being so great at what they do, are also in the limelight for being epic failures in everything else?
The lesson here is that if someone is getting a specific result you want, find out what specific actions, thoughts and habits they have that creates that result. Copy or model that and ONLY that!
A word of caution here is that people do things for weird reasons and you must discover the truth behind those reasons before you find yourself like the people in the story below.
The Mystery of the Ham
One day, a young married couple were in their kitchen preparing dinner when the girl did something that caught her husband’s attention. While preparing a ham to bake in the oven, she chopped off both ends before placing it in the roaster.
When her husband asked her why she did it, the only answer she had was that it was the way her mother had taught her how to do it. After pondering on it a while, their curiosity got the better of them and they called her mother to get the answer.
Her mother thought on it for a moment and said “That’s the way your grandmother taught me how to do it. She never told me why.”
Now their curiosity was just too much to bear so they all got her grandmother on a three-way call. Here’s how the conversation went:
The girl said, “Grandma, why do you chop both ends off of your ham before you put it in the roaster?”
Grandma replied, “I used to do that dear, but I don’t do it anymore.”
The girl asked, “Well, why not?!”
Grandma replied laughing, “Your grandpa bought me a bigger roaster.”
Get the WHOLE story before you go applying something that doesn’t make sense 🙂
The Earl Shoaff Insight
This is a premium example of modeling the good traits of successful people and ignoring the not so good traits. I may offend some of you with this story. If that happens, let me apologize up front but the story is necessary to get my point across.
Jim Rohn really admired his mentor and friend, Earl Shoaff. The first time it occurred to Jim that “Genius comes in strange packages” it was in the presence of his mentor many years ago.
Mr. Shoaff was President of the Nutri-Bio Corporation, a food supplement company. It was this company that Jim had signed on as a distributor and became a millionaire. He did so well that he was hand-picked by Mr. Shoaff to be Vice President of the Canadian division when they went International.
It was a different time in the 1950’s. Smoking was not considered to be such a big deal back then and you could be a smoker and still represent health (weird, I know) and food supplements. The problem was made even worse by the fact that Earl Shoaff was a heavy smoker.
In almost every picture I have of him, he has a cigarette in his hand. I even have a picture of him standing in front of a newly opened Nutri-Bio office taking a drag off of his cigarette. Incredible!
Jim told me that he and Mr. Shoaff used to travel Canada together putting on meetings for Nutri-Bio. They would be booked in rooms right beside each other. Jim said he never had to set his alarm to get up because he would be awakened, every morning, by Mr. Shoaff’s coughing fits.
He said sometimes they would go on for an hour! Jim knew Mr. Shoaff had a bad heart, and was really concerned what the smoking was doing to his friend, but, times were different back then and Mr. Shoaff didn’t think smoking was doing anything to him.
Earl Shoaff continued to smoke up until 3 weeks before his death. By then, the combination of years of heavy smoking along with his bad heart had caused massive lung damage. Pneumonia set in and he died from respiratory arrest.
I said all of that to say this
Earl Shoaff was a genius when it came to so many things. He was a master of personal development and the laws of success. He could show anyone, anywhere, any time, how to become rich, happy and fulfilled.
He was a ton of fun to be around! If you were lucky enough to accompany him on one of his many, MANY Las Vegas trips, you had the time of your life. He would go for a weekend and it was nothing for him to spend $25,000 to $30,000 at the craps tables.
He loved to drink Champagne and frequently bought rounds for the house.
He loved going to the track and made a second fortune there. He owned a race horse named Pal-Fast that set records at the famous Belmont Bowl that, to this day, have not been broken. How? He fed the horse Nutri-Bio but that’s another story 😉
Jim shared with me of his mentor and friend, “For all of his wit and wisdom, Earl Shoaff had some major errors in judgment. And those errors, for the most part, cost him his life. Who knows. Maybe he would have been with us a bit longer if he had taken better care of himself.”
It was from this extremely painful and personal experience that caused Jim to coin the phrase “Genius comes in strange packages.”
Be very careful what advice you take from people.
Make sure it serves you, your goals and your values before acting upon it.
Model and copy the best traits in others and ignore the not so good traits.
It is my sincere wish that this message serves you and that you find value in it.
Have a GREAT day my friends!
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