I Am A SAJORAN
" Looking back I see some setbacks, disappointments, even heartbreaks; I also see successes, achievements, and growth. Looking now I see even greater strength, more wisdom, and better self than ever! " - Mister G, Sajora Master
No matter what part of the world you were born in or what culture you happened to be raised in, there are countless numbers of trials and tribulations to be faced in childhood. But out of the countless numbers of childhood trials and tribulations the ones we face become the experiences that we use to shape us into who we are. With the help of our parents, and the tools provided for us by our cultures as well the resources nature all around us, we shape and forge our bodies and our minds into an individual self that cannot just survive, but can navigate and thrive in its particular milieu. My given name is Garba Onadja, but I have reshaped and forged myself into Mister G. I was born in Niamey, Niger one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world; with about two third of its territory covered by the Sahara Desert and much of the rest threatened by periodic droughts and desertification. Growing up in this arid climate, my particular trials and tribulations of childhood were poverty, illiteracy, and bullies.
" Growing up, I felt the urge to forge my body "
Forced to go full days with little or no food on occasion, Poverty taught me Endurance. I had to learn how to function with very little and make the most of the very little that we had. Being poor also taught me how to fend for myself. Not only how to hustle nourishment from the people
and the culture around me but how to use the natural resources provided by the land that most people did not even take into consideration.
"Fitness is the real fountain of youth!" - Mister G
Illiteracy was a big problem in my community. My father was illiterate, but he was wise enough to know that living under French colonialism, there would be no advancement for his children unless we learned how to read and write. My father made school a priority and instilled in me the importance of education, which allowed me to excel in school and to this day never stop learning. My father also ran a very diverse household. For example, my father never imposed any particular religion on me, but made me learn and even practice both Islam and Christianity in addition to Animism and our African Ancestral beliefs. Being surrounded by such diversity taught me how to pick and choose and formulate my own beliefs out of the institutional resources.
" When you stop moving, you begin dying " - Mister G
I created Sajora Executive Black Belt as an empowerment curriculum. Instinctively, following my natural flow had helped me to thrive in my youth, but consciously creating Sajora helped me to thrive even more in the United States. In the following twenty-five years I received my tenth Degree Master Black Belt in 2004, and I was inducted into the U.S.A. Martial Arts Hall of Fame. By that time, I had already also created the persona of Mister G.
In June 1992, I arrived in Los Angeles and became a U.S. Citizen a few years later. I was thirty years old at the time and when I looked back upon my life, all of my trials and tribulations, all of my triumphs and my failures, there had been a naturalness in the way I picked and chose the things that would make me who I became. Sajora is an African word that has multiple, but related meanings – survival, wilderness, knowledge of one’s surroundings - and can be said to capture a sense of nature and the way everything has its own individual flow and if it follows that flow it can reach its truest, highest self. So, from all the diverse philosophies and arts that I had mastered.
I wanted to share my knowledge of Sajora with others, and so Mister G is a projection of what I aspired myself to be, my vision of the ideal teacher who would teach Sajora and help people find the natural way of achieving their ideal selves that they had lost in a cultural labyrinth, or by concentrating too much on their “failures” or “losses”. As a teacher of Sajora, Mister G is not an "unsurpassable" master or a mystical guru, but a bridge for passing over as his students use Sajora to surpass their teacher and go their own natural way, as I did, as we all must. Mister G is rather the facilitating companion in their individual journeys of self-discovery and personal empowerment.
What's Critical Thinking?
Critical Thinking Defined
Critical thinking means making reasoned judgments that are logical and well-thought out. It is a way of thinking in which you don't simply accept all arguments and conclusions you are exposed to but rather have an attitude involving questioning such arguments and conclusions. It requires wanting to see what evidence is involved to support a particular argument or conclusion. People who use critical thinking are the ones who say things such as, 'How do you know that? Is this conclusion based on evidence or gut feelings?' and 'Are there alternative possibilities when given new pieces of information?'
Additionally, critical thinking can be divided into the following three core skills: curiosity, skepticism, and humility.
1. Curiosity is the desire to learn more information and seek evidence as well as being open to new ideas.
2. Skepticism involves having a healthy questioning attitude about new information that you are exposed to and not blindly believing everything everyone tells you.
3. Finally, humility is the ability to admit that your opinions and ideas are wrong when faced with new convincing evidence that states otherwise.
Using Critical Thinking Skills
Many people decide to make changes in their daily lives based on anecdotes, or stories from one person's experience. For example, let's say that your aunt told you that she takes a vitamin C supplement every day. Additionally, she told you that one morning she was running late for work and forgot to take her vitamin C supplement. That afternoon, she developed a cold. She now insists that you take vitamin C every day or you will get sick, just like she did in her story. Many people hearing this story would just accept this and think, 'To avoid getting sick I should take vitamin C.'
Although this type of logic is very common, it lacks critical-thinking skills. If we examine this anecdote a little more carefully, you should be able to understand why. For starters, we don't know where the idea for vitamin C stopping illness even came from. Why did your aunt decide to take vitamin C rather than vitamin D, or any other vitamin?
Also, there was never any indication given that there exists a direct link between not taking vitamin C and developing a cold. At first glance, it may seem that way. However, there could be many other variables involved that have nothing to do with vitamin C. Maybe she was already developing a cold and that particular day it just happened to manifest itself. Maybe a sick person sneezed on her in the elevator that morning. Any number of possibilities could have happened, and from just this story, we simply do not have enough information. All of this speculation as to the validity of this particular observation is considered skepticism.
Let's say that these thoughts of skepticism inspired your curiosity. After all, it wouldn't be fair to simply dismiss all new ideas, either. As a result, you looked up articles on the relationship between vitamin C and cold prevention. After reading several reports, you've found that scientific studies on whether vitamin C prevents the common cold have been conducted, and the results have been inconsistent. The overall conclusion found from these studies is that vitamin C is necessary for maintaining overall body function, but cannot be held responsible for preventing people from getting any colds or treating a cold once someone already has one.
After your investigative reporting, you decide to show your aunt that her beliefs on vitamin C are erroneous by presenting the results of your research. If your aunt is like most people, she will hear this scientifically-valid evidence and still insist that her idea about cold prevention through vitamin C is correct based on her personal experience. Part of critical thinking is demonstrating humility, and many people (in this case, your aunt) have trouble doing this. However, a big part of science is testing ideas and finding out that some ideas were not right. This is good because it allows us to tweak these ideas and test out other ones to get closer to finding out the right way the world works.
Critical thinking is making informed decisions based on logic. It requires you to question and investigate the validity of new information instead of just blindly believing everything you hear.
The three main skills involved in critical thinking are curiosity (desire or passion to learn new information and being open to new ideas), skepticism (questioning new information rather than just blindly believing it), and humility (the ability to change your ideas when logically proven that you are wrong). If you use critical thinking, you will be able to make better decisions and be less gullible.
Personal Power Defined
Personal power is more of an attitude or state of mind than an attempt to maneuver or control others. It is based on competence, vision, positive personal qualities, and service. When externalized it is likely to be more generous, creative and humane than other forms of power.
Personal power is based on strength, confidence, and competence that individuals gradually acquire in the course of their development. It is self-assertion, and a natural, healthy striving for love, satisfaction, and meaning in one's interpersonal world. This type of power represents a movement toward self-realization and transcendent goals in life; its primary aim is mastery of self, not others.
Personal power is the ability to influence people and events with or without formal authority. It's more of a person's attitude or state of mind rather than an attempt to maneuver or control others. There is a multitude of personal powers in each individual.
Example of personal power can be in the way a person smiles, walks, talks, or even his or her appearance. Other attributes, qualities, or talents whether physical or mental constitute tremendous sources of personal powers too.
Sajora training not only help the student identify them, but also enhance them and apply them effectively.
Self-awareness helps us answer one of life’s big questions, one that is foundational for leading our people: What makes us truly happy? This question should be front and center for any leader. Being self-aware of what constitutes true happiness helps in better leading pep/e and tapping into what really drives them. True happiness bolsters feelings of fulfillment, engagement, and commitment. Because of this, it’s time for the practice and science of true happiness to enter basic leadership knowledge.
True happiness is…