Shaka Origin


Our Biggest Weakness Can Be Our Legacy

The Missing Piece in Most Content Creators

Why The People With The Most Influence Online Succeed

How The Trolls Can Carry Your Message Further

The One Key To Finding Your Loyal Audience




Hey, everybody! It’s Craig with Clipscribe today; we’re talking about the “shaka,” or how many of you might know of this as the "hang loose" symbol. The symbol is seen all over Hawaii that is native to Hawaii, and you see surfers use it a lot, but if you’re in there, you see everybody utilizing it. I want to talk to you about the origin story of this and how this applies to creating social media video content. 

The shaka is a hand symbol that looks like this. You see the emoji here; you might have used that emoji on your phone. We all know of this symbol that Hawaii surfers do. My wife said I was baffled by this because I thought it was a famous Hawaiian symbol. I didn’t realize that there was an incredible origin story.


The Story Behind Shaka


I had no idea why people did this. Back in the day, in the early 1900s, a guy named Hamana Kalili worked at a sugar cane farm or plantation. One of the things that he had to do at the sugarcane plantation is he would have to operate a sugarcane presser that would squeeze the juice out of the presser.

One day while working on the presser, he accidentally got his hand cut in this sugarcane presser, taking off his three middle fingers. That’s how he got his hand to look like this. Right? So after this happened to him, he needed a new job – so he got a job as a security guard at a place where kids would come and vandalize and just cause trouble.

Now, while working at this new job, he would yell at the kids, waving his arm at them, and tell them to get out of there, doing his security job the right way. Well, the kids noticed this, they saw his hand gesture, and of course, kids are going to be kids; they would emulate it.

They started using this hand gesture as a symbol to let each other know when Hamana Kalili was coming for them. This was like their secret hand sign that said, "Hey! Here, he comes! Here, he comes!". So instead of verbally announcing his presence, they would silently do the symbol. That’s the origin story behind the Shaka.

He eventually went on to lead music at his church, and people remembered him doing this symbol as well while he was leading the choir. So this symbol made this guy famous all over the world. Even though most people don’t know who he was, his legacy lives on because of that unique hand that he had because of that unfortunate work accident. 


How This Applies To Storytelling


That story made me think about just being ourselves, which made me think about creating video content, as it is essential just to be yourself. 

There are three things that I thought about sharing:

Never let anyone else define who you should be. Especially when you’re putting yourself on video content or social media – maybe you’re a business owner. A lot of times, you can find yourself thinking...

"I need to be a certain way...."

"I need to act a certain way on camera...."

"I need to tone down this part of my personality or amp up this part."

"I’m not this; I want to amp this up."

These are the things that go through everyone's head. Often, we don’t present ourselves to our audiences the way we really are. But for this guy, just being himself allowed his legacy to continue. Just imagine if he hid his hand when he was yelling at those kids or if he didn’t use that hand when he led at his church, there would be no impact.

Nobody would be doing this now. 


Second Storytelling Lesson


It was called a shaka because of a car salesman in Hawaii around the 70s. He would do it at the end of his car commercials, and then you go, "shaka brah!". That’s where the name shaka came from. It meant, "Shaka is here."

That’s where the name came from. So, eventually, TV spreads it out, you know, everywhere else. Shaka is this guy’s legacy because he wasn’t afraid to just go with it and be himself. I think, you know, the people that have the most influence online many, many, many times are the people that are just themselves. Sometimes they can influence others because people don’t like them.

When it comes to creating social media video content, you should be brave. Be brave; the trolls are always going to be there, okay? The people making fun of you are always going to be there. There will always be a critic, just like those kids were making fun of Hamana for his hand and doing the symbol. They don’t like them to be themselves, but they still watch them because it’s fascinating when somebody is themselves; the second thing we can learn from Hamana.

The trolls carry your story farther than you realize. No press is bad press. Don’t be afraid of other people; don’t let them decide. Put yourself out there, but put your authentic self out there.


Third Storytelling Lesson


The third thing we can learn from Hamana is to be patient. This was not an overnight success story, right? Some would argue that it’s not a success story for him because he never really got to see his fame, but it did happen eventually. Creating social media video content is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. I say to people all the time, just be consistent. That’s the most important thing – just be consistent. It’s hard to do. I know it’s hard to, it’s hard for me to do. 

But if you can be consistent over time, your audience will begin to find you, and your influence will start to multiply, and some people are going to connect with you whether or not you’re somebody that has a broad appeal or a more narrow appeal You’re going to find your audience.

And if you have a narrow appeal, you will have a more loyal audience because of your uniqueness. You’ll find those people who resonate with you and who you are. 

So I just wanted to share that with you all because I thought it was an incredible and inspiring story. I encourage you to go out there, be yourself, be authentic, and do something every time you make a video that might make you feel comfortable. It’s who you indeed are and who you make an impact on.

Conclusion – And A Gift


Okay, everybody, thanks for reading. This is Craig Lillard with Clipscribe. If you need help creating video content that grabs attention in the feed and expands your influence, Clipscribe can help you do that.

And also, if you sign up for a free trial, Clipscribe will give you a free membership to 100 stories, which provides you with 100 video content story-based ideas that work with any industry because they’re based on you and your account. And everybody loves a good story, just like the story we learned about today, about the shaka guy.

So, thanks for reading, everybody. Stay tuned for the next post!

Leave a Comment