Ever had a day when you felt off, when you weren’t accomplishing what you needed to accomplish, or worse, felt as though you didn’t have the ability or capability to accomplish?

Those days can be the toughest to overcome because you’re effectively working against yourself. Part of you is at war with another part of you. The No We Can’t is mixing it up hard with the Yes We Can.

How do you put yourself back on track?

We look to some of the ninja traditions, traditions steeped in centuries of having to win against all odds, no matter what. One of these traditions known as the kuji kiri, or nine syllable cutting, might offer us some help on those days when we’re our own worst enemy. Master teacher Stephen K. Hayes describes the kuji kiri practice in part as a smashing of past successes together with potential future successes to help you make that breakthrough in the here and now. While you’d need to train directly with An-Shu Hayes for the actual kuji practices themselves, you can take inspiration from his words and implement the idea itself in your workplace or home.

TameshigiriWhat are the symbols and reminders in your life of past successes, of things that you absolutely got right? Maybe you have some keepsakes of sorts, whether they’re hard-won diplomas from school or photographs of childrens’ graduations. Perhaps it’s a newspaper article or a speaker’s review that highlights how successful you were in the past. Perhaps it’s a special song on an MP3 player that brings you back into that moment of crowning victory. It could even be a particular scent or perfume. Whatever it is, you know you’ve got it right when, as soon as you remember the past, all of the elation comes rushing back, energizing your mind and body.

Whatever your totems of success are, have them available as a potent reminder to yourself somewhere so that you can take a quick look, listen, or experience and be reminded of your full capacities and capabilities. It’s not an ego wall; you could keep your totems and sigils in a desk drawer or office closet if you felt the need for extreme modesty. Its function is not to impress others, but to remind you of who you really are and who you can be.

When you remind yourself of successes past, reinforce in yourself that if you take your self-doubt and cut it out, future success isn’t far away. You have physical, concrete evidence of your ability to generate results. When that belief in yourself flags, re-experience just how capable you really are, and use that to restart your momentum towards more success!


If you’d like more information on the actual study and practice of the kuji kiri, An-shu Hayes has a couple of educational history programs to get you started on DVD.


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