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  • July 24, 2017


    When you look up motivational speaker Jim Rohn on the internet, he sounds like a smart guy with a lot of answers about how to be successful in life and business. He definitely made a lot of money and many successful people credit him with changing their lives.

    And, I think that’s great. But here is the rest of the story.

    Jim Rohn was a guy, born in 1930, who dropped out of college after his freshman year and got a job as a stock clerk at Sears, Roebuck & Co. He wasn’t there for long. After attending a lecture given by entrepreneur and motivational speaker John Earl Shoaff, Rohn signed up in 1955 as a distributor in Shoaff’s direct sales company, The Abundavita Corporation of America – a Long Beach, California-based company that sold nutritional supplements through a network of dealerships.

    A couple of years later, when Shoaff left Abundavita and helped start a direct sales company called Nutri-Bio Corp, Rohn went with him. Shoaff became his mentor, and Rohn soon assumed a position of vice president with the company.

    What you don’t read in the glowing accounts of these two inspirational men is that they were a couple of old-fashioned medicine-man hustlers selling hope in a bottle to all the suckers out there – who just maybe should have been seeing a real doctor instead of buying pills from Shoaff, Rohn, and associates.

    The following is from an obscure 1959 government document from the federal Food and Drug Administration that year. The government’s findings on the company’s marketing material for vitamins and minerals are almost comical.

    Company literature, according to the feds, contained false and misleading representations “that the articles were adequate and effective to produce longevity and superb, perfect, and radiant health, happiness, hardihood, vigor, and good eyesight; resulted in men being active and sexually potent until age 100; resulted in women being beautiful and youthful in their 70’s and 80’s; prevented chronic illness; produced muscular fitness; conditioned the intestines and aided bowel movements; appeased the appetite and controlled weight; deodorized the body; cleaned and lubricated the intestinal tract, including the colon; allayed putrefaction in the colon; stimulated action of the colon; that the articles were adequate and effective for the treatment and prevention of headaches, irritability, nervousness, and mental depression; fatigue; dizziness; vague aches and pains; neuritis; insomnia; loss of muscle tone; weakness; loss of weight; indigestion; digestive upsets; loss of appetite; diarrhea; constipation; inflammation of the mouth; sores about the angles of the mouth; reddening of the lips; swelling and redness of the tongue; and dryness of hair or skin.”

    Wow! Do you believe that?

    I didn’t think so.

    The truth is, probably 20 percent of the folks who actually bought Abundavita’s pills did end up feeling somewhat better. The power of suggestion is very strong.

    The point is that motivational speakers – from TV evangelists to pill pushers – are really good at firing people up, but 80 percent of it is just hype and wishful thinking.

    And it wears off quickly, just maybe because there was nothing there to begin with.

    George Lee Cunningham

    Do you have a dissenting opinion or any opinion at all on the subject? Contact me at george@georgeleecunningham.com and let me know. Meanwhile, you can always subscribe and get an email reminder of blog postings. Your name will not be shared and you may cancel at any time.