Sunday, December 6, 2009

Three Warriors Within – Marcus Pedro’s Story

by Nell Arnold
Illustrations by Alick Tipoti
Big Sky Publishing $24.99 120pp

Marcus Pedro spent much of his life illiterate and innumerate, and now he is a motivational speaker. And at 5am this morning when I was reading his book, his presence jumped off the page at me.

Born on Moa Island in the Torres Strait, and one of eight kids, he begins his story with:
I am Marcus Pedro,
in the present,
an Indigenous
a Black man
from the Torres Strait Islands,
Trying to survive in contemporary Australia.

And survive he does: as a child at school, he was called ‘idiot’ and ‘stupid’ unless he was playing sport, then he was a ‘champion’. Even without literacy and numeracy skills he could see the contradiction in being a ‘stupid champion’.

Even in his young adult life he struggled with the basic skills needed to survive in the workforce and yet he tried being a panel beater and spray painter, a mechanic, a railway worker, he became a DJ, community policeman, and a construction worker, before going on to graduate from the Police Academy and earn his black sash as a martial artist.

In his briefly yet poetically told story, Marcus praises his ability to ‘survive’ on three leaders in his life: a particular school teacher, his martial arts instructor and his police mentor.

The three warriors within are really different aspects of Marcus. They are:

1. The Brave Warrior – uses affirmations and self-talk to support self-confidence.
2. The Gentle Warrior – establishes presence by listening and learning from others.
3. The Humble Warrior – encourages you to take the power and responsibility of voice eg your language changes from ‘I and me’ to ‘we’.

Some might say it’s not rocket science, that these approaches to self-esteem / confidence and growing are nothing new, and they’re not really. But what a great reminder from someone who has walked the walk. Marcus has studied motivational speakers from around the world and along the way found his own motivational warriors within. A key phrase for Marcus is: ‘Mental spears are tools of the mind, constantly sharpened by the hunter.’ And the five key words to ensure the warrior remains within are: Respect, Attitude, Self-belief, Self-confidence and Focus.

This powerful yet simple story is told in his own voice and is structured like poetry, as if he is delivering it orally with all the pauses in place. There’s a resource section at the end of the book with information on the Torres Strait Islands (did you know there’s 274 islands of which 17 are inhabited with approximately 20 communities?).

Do what I did, Marcus Pedro in Three Warriors Within, and add some inspiration to your day, to your life.

To order:

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