A friend of mine bought a book about Japanese inventions once. It was not about famous electronic devices or cars but about solutions for the daily problems Japanese have to face. Most of them were hilarious and put a big smile on my face. Some of my favorites: the Hay Fever Hat, the Heavy Smoker’s Mask and the Daddy Nurser.
Sure, at first sight they look silly but no matter how hard I try, I just cannot get around the fact that the inventors have got a point. Still, it is very unlikely that I am ever going to use one of these inventions. As handy as the Hat Fever Hat seems like, I think most people are not ready for it yet.
Recently my dad came home from a trip to Japan. When I saw him he said he brought me a typical Japanese gift. The inventions came to my mind again and I feared the worst. I was just about to remind him that I am not a (heavy) smoker and that I don’t feel the urge to breastfeed children until he gave me a really thoughtful gift. A Dharma Doll!
Yes, I thought it too in the beginning. Why is my dad giving his adult son a doll? Luckily I found out that the Dharma Doll is not a toy but a symbol of perseverance and good luck. It is a traditional Japanese paper doll, used as a motivator and reminder to reach the goals you set yourself. Cool, this is a Japanese invention I can use!
Why do I like the concept so much? Because setting and achieving personal goals is essential for a happy and fulfilling life. I love starting projects. Big or small, it does not matter. Working on projects I like brings me joy and bringing them to a good end makes me proud. Without goals, I get bored, lazy and stuck. I don’t know about you but those three things make me unhappy and indifferent. So focusing on fun and/or useful goals it is!
I also know from experience that it can be hard to achieve goals so it is nice to have a little backup. A token that reminds you every day of what you are trying to accomplish. Sounds like a Dharma Doll to me!
This is how it works:
- First, decide on a specific goal you would like to achieve. Preferably a goal that is measurable and achievable within a year or sooner. A goal you have always wanted to achieve or a new goal, it does not matter.
- The second step is drawing a pupil in one of the blank eyes of the Dharma Doll. It is your choice which eye. By doing this you promise yourself that you are going to work on achieving your goal with passion and commitment. It is the start of a fun new project!
- Place the Dharma Doll somewhere visible so you will see it every day. It is a daily reminder of the promise you have made to yourself. It is still unfinished because one eye is blank. You do not want to fail yourself, you want to draw the other pupil as well!
- Once you have reached you goal you can be proud of yourself! You are allowed to draw the other pupil. Be grateful! Thank yourself and the universe for achieving something great. Write your goal on the back of the Dharma Doll and burn it at the end of the year. Be grateful again.
- Now you have achieved your goal it is time for a new one. Get yourself a new Dharma Doll and a new goal and make yourself proud again. Try to draw as many pupils as possible in your life!
The reason why people achieve goals and are successful in life is because they keep motivated. You need to stay focused and excited all the way. It is important that you do not linger and a daily reminder of your goal might help.
Also, the concept of the Dharma Doll is a ritual and rituals are very powerful. There is a start and an end. The moment that you can look the Dharma Doll in both eyes is a moment of reflection and gratitude for achieving your goal. The moment when you burn the dolls at the end of the year is a reflection of your life. If you did well it is a moment of pride. The moment of happiness will be there all along the way!
If you do not want to buy a Doll but still want to use the concept you can download a picture here. Print it, hang it on the wall and use it the same way.
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