Kui Nashi: Live Your Guts Out Like the Japanese and Capture an Uplifting Life

Make the most of your chance to live an exciting, worthy life.

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Living or dying is not a question of significance. Putting your heart and soul into what you do is what matters above all.

The Japanese are zealous about striving to do their best on their undertakings. So much that the Chinese characters of the word representing the idea read ‘definite’ and ‘death’. It dictates to achieve the aim you’re after or die in your intent.

Though it may be a bit overstretched like some samurai concepts, the idea is to work hard on it. That is a defining attitude that lies behind the Japanese concept of kui nashi.

Kui nashi assures a continuum of gratification

Kui nashi means ‘no regret’. It invites you to have no regrets when you leave this world.

It’s saying that you did everything you could and wanted, and you don’t have remorse about the way you lived. On that account, kui nashi entitles those who follow it to a satisfying life.

Achieving this state at the end of your life requires observing some principles.

Commitment to get it above all

As mentioned, you exhaust all you’ve got to attain your goal. You are to make no compromise. If you decided what your plans were, execute them. Today may be the last day of your life, so live it!

We received this opportunity called life, so make the most of it. Thank life for all you have. Pursue what you want and can get. Just assure it’s what YOU want, and not what others want for you.

Give all you’ve got and don’t keep any of it. When your time is up, you can’t take it with you, anyway.

Take the driver’s seat of your life

It’s YOUR life. YOU decide what to do. YOU make the calls. YOU reap the benefits. And yes, when you’ve messed it up, it’s also YOU who pays for it. That explains why you are to be its owner.

Whatever happens in your life, don’t blame others for it. Be in charge of your life. Have the courage and pride to assert your role as the sole master of your life. Don’t let anyone else take it away from you.

From an early age, they educate kids in Japan about kejime, drawing a line between different things or ideas. Also, they teach them to set kejime, to take responsibility for their actions.

If Japanese kids can do it, any adult also can.

Know who you are

This is harder than many people think. Never contemplated this question and you think you know who you are? Then you better think it over. Only those who appreciate the complexity of this question understand this point.

It won’t help much to take charge if you don’t have a clue about yourself. Do you know what you want and where you’re headed?

If you don’t, get acquainted with yourself. Befriend yourself, because you’re the most important person in your life. Remember, you are someone you can’t get rid of for the rest of your life.

Have a broad perspective at all times

We all acknowledge life is full of difficulties. The downturns seem to last forever, but don’t forget to live up to kui nashi.

When the going gets tough, we need to have a broad perspective. Tough times will pass by too, so keep pursuing your goal.

Nothing lasts forever, and neither does life. Benefit from it by not ruining it in the brief time you’re in a dip.

Live with the end in mind

Kui nashi makes you set your sight to the end. That’s what enables life and not having done that implies not having lived.

The finale sets the beginning and what happens in between. Without a clear finale, everything is murky. You won’t have clarity in your life if you don’t know where you’re going.

Set the end straight, and we can be more certain about the rest. That will give you more confidence in your life.


The end is a moving target because you grow and mature in life. Experience might get you closer to who you are at the core. Your worldview then changes and that influences what you want.

Still, following kui nashi can take you there. It’s an endeavor we should strive to live by.

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