I have spent over fifty years doing business successfully. I have been directly involved in direct selling, service contracting, wholesale merchandising, entertainment (I was a professional trumpet player, vocalist, and radio announcer), freight forwarding, import/export, retail merchandising, warehousing, real estate, electronics manufacturing, finder’s fees, closeout merchandising, financial brokerage, business consulting, steel fabrication, gold and coal mining, mailorder, writing, and publishing. When I told my Mother I had bought a bank, she said, “Don’t be silly, Jim. People don’t own banks.” But I did.
During my long career in business, I have generated revenues in excess of five-hundred million dollars ($500,000,000).
Over the past 50+ years, I have read literally hundreds of books, booklets, manuscripts, reports, and articles on “mind stuff”: self-motivation, goal-setting, psychology, philosophy, metaphysics, each and all religions, and even the occult — voodoo, witchcraft, and black magic. My all time favorite book is The Magic of Believing by ClaudeBristol, followed closely by Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, along with the writings of W. Clement Stone, Ayn Rand, Norman Vincent Peele, Paul J. Meyer, Mary Baker Eddy, L. Ron Hubbard, Anthony Robbins, Charles F. Haanel, Dr. Phil, Oprah, and numerous others.
In my youth, while I was on my own quest for the “secrets to success,” I went through all of the goal-setting, affirmations, visualizations, incantations, prayers, rituals, monotonous repetitions, and mental exercises espoused by each of the methods; even the more esoteric, recondite, abstruse and, sometimes, even ridiculous methodologies I had read.
All the while, I was doing the things I had to do to survive, generate an income, and provide for myself and my family.
At times, when my business activities produced some exceptional profits, I firmly believed that the motivational or metaphysical method I was using at the time had caused the abundance, imaging in my young mind that I had indeed found that ever elusive “secret to success.” Then, when my business activities would stabilize without showing any exceptional growth patterns, I would — again — go in search of the real “secret of success.”
Grabbing another book of “mind stuff,” I would again return to my quest for the holy grail of success, all the while doing whatever had to be done to keep generating an income; building my business ever so slowly as I sought the “secret of success.”
Throughout my readings on motivation, religion, metaphysics, mind-power, and even the occult, one statement seemed to be recurring in almost all of the writings. You have, no doubt, seen it quoted (or misquoted) yourself…
“If you have the faith of a mustard seed,
you can move mountains.”
One fine day, after having shown no growth in my business activities for some short time, I opened my latest motivational tome to be greeted by that statement. At that moment, not being in an accepting mood, I muttered to myself…
“Yeah. Sure I can…
If I get a shovel and start hauling the mountain away, one shovel full at a time.”
That’s when it dawned on me: It was my actions — not the goal-setting, affirmations, visualizations, incantations, prayers, rituals, repetitions, and mental exercises — that had made my successes possible. It was only when I relied solely upon the incantations, rituals, repetitions, and mental exercises, and quit “doing what needed to be done” that my business stagnated — or, in some cases, even lost ground.
When I had “faith” and a shovel, I could move mountains. But, when I had “faith” without a shovel, the mountain just sat there.
Then, I remembered a sermon I had heard in my youth about “Works Without Faith.” The premise of the sermon was that good works without faith would not get a person into heaven; however, faith would, of itself, require good works from the holder of the faith.
In other words, even if I had a shovel, I would never move the mountain without the faith that I could and would move that mountain.
On the other hand, if I had faith that I could and would move that mountain, I would be required by that faith to keep getting bigger and stronger shovels to do the job.
That’s when I wrote this note to myself…
“Motivation is like a 5-gallon can of gasoline. It won’t take you anywhere unless you have a vehicle in which to use it.”
In the children’s story “The Little Engine That Could,” the little engine began by “thinking” he could pull the train over the mountain. Then, he “knew” he could — and he pulled the train over the mountain. The story only misses one all-important factor in the little engine’s success. While “thinking” and then “knowing” he could do it, the little engine kept his wheels turning. Without that physical application, the little engine would have never reached the top of the mountain.
All of the goal-setting, affirmations, visualizations, incantations, prayers, rituals, monotonous repetitions, and mental exercises will never allow anyone to reach their goals. Without a physical application, nothing happens.
In my #1 bestselling book Mustard Seeds, Shovels and Mountains: How to Succeed Using Your Physio-Psychic Power, I explain to you the necessary physical actions required to give your faith a shovel. At the same time, I will explain how to build your faith by using physical applications.
Plainly and simply, “Physio-Psychic Power” is the utilization of physical applications to realize the mental — even metaphysical — manifestations of success.
Beyond that I will share with you one of the most powerful secrets to acheiving your goals (whatever they may be): “Forget about looking for answers. Learn to ask the right questions. “ If you ask yourself the right questions, the answers will come to you. I teach you what questions you need to be asking yourself to have everything you want in life and in business.
Join me on a new adventure into the power of your mind.
When you learned that 2 + 2 = 4, you gained a useful piece of information. When you learned that 2 apples + 2 apples = 4 apples, but 2 apples + 2 oranges = 2 apples and 2 oranges, or 2 pairs of fruit, or 4 fruits; you have gained all-important knowledge.
Information is nice to know. It lets you answer the questions on tests or when watching TV game shows. But, until you learn to use that information in a practical application, it isn’t knowledge.
Any child of two or three years of age can tell you that 2 + 2 = 4. They have heard it repeated over and over until they can repeat it themselves. But, when confronted with four apples, they are at a loss to apply that information.
The same holds true for older students (and even adults) who can readily tell you that Einstein’s Theory of Relativity can be expressed by the formula E=mc². Until they know what the E, m, and c stand for and can use the formula in a practical application, it is only information, not knowledge.
A fine line exists between information and knowledge. That fine line is nothing more than use. You can memorize bits and pieces of information all day, every day, but until you actually use that information, it is not knowledge. Once used, information becomes knowledge and, thereby, power.
Successful people, whether they be self-employed or wage-earners, executive or common laborer, are seekers after knowledge. They absorb information from every direction. The information they can use becomes knowledge, while the information they have no apparent use for is simply stored on the chance that someday it may become useful.
Unsuccessful people, on the other hand, claim to be seekers of knowledge, but they believe that knowledge itself can be imparted. Because the books they read, the courses they take, and the plans they buy contain only information, they are forever disappointed. Because it is only information and not the “knowledge” they thought they were going to get, they never use the information and, thereby, the knowledge they sought is lost to them forever.
Since I am the author of a great many books, booklets, reports, articles, and editorials about success and making and using money (somewhere over 700 so far), those people stick out like sore-thumbs on my customer lists. They write me long letters detailing their trials and tribulations and explain to me just why the information won’t work for them. Not one ever writes “I used the information and it didn’t work.” Had they ever used the information, that information would have turned into knowledge and they could have reaped the rewards they have coveted for so long.
If there was a way I could force those people to use the information they have, I could literally guarantee their success. And, in those few cases over the years where I have been able to shame or intimidate people into actually using the information I have provided, those people have achieved successes they had only dreamed were possible.
The Rules of Success used by successful people and businesses since the beginning of time have never really changed. Those rules have been written down for all to read, learn, and use, but they appear as information only and can only be changed to knowledge by use. If there were a way to force every person and every business to use those known and proven rules of success, there would be no unsuccessful people or businesses in the world.
Statistically, 90% of small businesses fail and 90% of people live a life of sustained mediocrity — simply because they will not use the information available to them.
In your quest for financial independence you must learn to force yourself to use the information you have at your disposal. No one but you is going to force you to assume that responsibility.
Of course, some smart aleck reading this is going to say, “Yeah! But, I’m not going to use any bad information.”
Granted, there is bad (counter-productive) information out there. But, there is no way of telling good information from bad information until you try it. Judging the value of information without using it is like trying to judge the flavor of a pie without ever tasting it.
If you learn nothing else from Mustard Seeds, Shovels, & Mountains, learn that information only becomes knowledge when you use it and the information you have used or failed to use in the past is the reason you are where you are today.
You can be your best friend — or your worst enemy. No one forces you to be what you are or do what you do (or don’t do).
What you have today is a direct result of what you did yesterday.
What you will have tomorrow will be a direct result of what you do (or don’t do) today.
It’s up to you…
I’ve had the privilege to know Jim Straw, learn insights from him, and I’ve been able to sit down with him for one-on-one chats at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and break times at conferences and workshops over the years.
I’ve just finished reading Jim’s book Mustard Seeds, Shovels, & Mountains and wanted to say it’s great! It’s the next best thing to sitting down with Jim one-on-one. His writing style is the same as his personal conversations with you… Real world practical advice and wisdom that can be used to get real results.
If I had to tell you my favorite part of the book it would have to be the story of Jim’s friend named George. I won’t say where it is in the book, it’s best that you find it for yourself, but I will tell you in that one short little story, Jim reveals so many success secrets that those three or four pages should be read daily for a year, and then reviewed monthly thereafter — it’s that revealing.
Author, Speaker, Coach, Publisher, Software Developer
I have read tons of self-help books and articles and been through positive thinking classes and they have all had temporary effects then, ultimately, fallen short. Jim Straw’s books and courses, loaded with common sense and practical advice and clear-cut directions, are the only ones I’ve found which have consistently earned me good profits. Jim is the “Real Deal.”
Partners in Business
Do you seek the real secret of success? You will find that and more in this book. J.F. Straw lives what he teaches. Whether for your business or for any other endeavor in life, you can learn something from him. You may never have heard of Jim Straw before, yet the simple method he reveals here has made him one of the most all-around successful men who has ever lived. This book probably should be required reading no later than eighth grade in every school district in America. In short: read the book, apply it, and better your life.
M.B. Leibowitz, PhD
Over the years I’ve added at least one-hundred dollars each business day in take home for every new idea I gain from your practical insights.
Publisher, Inside Strategic Relations
Business Development Consultant
J.F. (Jim) Straw is a living legend among informed marketers of every kind. Perhaps because he has sold just about everything in his 40+ years of being in business. Which all by itself is a testimony of super success. He is now still doing what he preaches and loves best: writing , publishing, and teaching others (the noblest profession of them all). His secrets, methods, and recipes for success have made his exceptionally rich life the one to be emulated and hopefully imitated.
I have known Jim Straw for over 30 years now. What separates Jim Straw from many business leaders in his field is that he is dedicated to what he does best: helping people.
Jim has hit the nail on the head. You can do all the psychic (or magick) work you like, but if it’s all in your head, it ain’t taking you nowhere. The art, as Jim so astutely points out, is to back up your psychic/magick work with real world efforts. It is this that brings you the edge—and will bring success. Guaranteed!
Jimmy Lee Shreeve
I was so fed up with all of the famous, swollen-headed, inaccessible business coaches. Then, thankfully, I learned of Jim Straw. I hate to say this, but Jim Straw is probably the last of his breed: a kindly, wise mentor who keeps his promises and keeps on teaching. Thank you, Jim.
Jim Straw has lived, done, and experienced what he writes about. If you want “fluff,” “bluff,” and “bullstuff,” then there are plenty of “authors” out there more than willimg to sell you their “bullstuff” and laugh all the way to the bank. Jim Straw will tell you how he’s actually done it. Isn’t that what you really want and need?
You are the “real deal” in a world full of entrepreneurial charlatans.
I like the way you write and explain things. Thanks, Jim, for the truth I sense in you.
Bottom line: I trust Jim and I am looking forward to working with him.