Finding your Mojo (and a little history of the word)


I was on the East Coast a couple weeks ago teaching public speaking and presentation skills. One of my students said, “I want to get my Mojo back. I lost it somewhere along the way.”  All the other hands went up and everyone said, “Me too! I want Mojo!”

Mojo became the goal of the workshop.

It got me thinking about the word and how much I like it.  It packs a lot of meaning into just four letters.

Mojo started out as a West African word that meant magic and was exclusively in the province of a shaman.  You went to the medicine man for Mojo.

After thriving for centuries in Africa, Mojo crossed the ocean in the ships sailing to America carrying the slaves.

Once here, the meaning of Mojo began to change, especially after slaves were freed.  Mojo left the shaman and became something not everyone did have, but anyone could have.

It came to mean your personal magic.

Then, around the 1920s, black musicians gave birth to Jazz and accomplished what multitudes of politicians were unable to achieve.  They created a bridge to black culture.  Despite prohibitions and strict laws forbidding it, whites raced across that bridge and flooded the forbidden night clubs to hear the new black music and dance their dances way into the night.  And they were introduced to the word Mojo in their songs as they sang along.

Mojo thus solidly completed its trip from West Africa and crossed over into white culture.  By the 1960s it had gone mainstream here and even appeared in Europe.

Mojo is your personal magic.  Everyone has it, but not everyone finds it.

Little kids often have lots of it.  School does everything it can to kill it, so by the time most people graduate, they’ve lost touch with their Mojo.

Since Mojo is an expression of a style that is uniquely yours, any conformity immediately destroys it. You have to step away from any demand for you to even slightly conform because in those moments that you yield, you give up yourself, and you lose your Mojo.

Mojo is an exhilarating expression of YOU’ness.

And those moments where you have your Mojo on are exhilarating like no other. For you, and for everyone around you.

Recovering your Mojo can make for a beautiful life’s journey. Although many people when they’re old, give up on it completely.

When I look at people, I see past everything that’s not who they truly are.  I see their Mojo, whether they’re experiencing it at the moment or not.

Sometimes it’s an archaeological expedition to get in there and dig it out.  But, if you know what you’re looking for and how to find it, recovering your Mojo can happen fast.  It’s a worthy goal.  At any age.

When I work with a group of individuals, and I see them get their Mojo on, I go into non-stop grinning.  It’s a grinning that lasts long after the workshop is over.

Mojo is true to its roots.  Mojo IS magic.  Your magic.

Your Mojo is your gift to the world.

Your Mojo is you.

Wishing you lots of moments where you fully experience having your Mojo on!



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