Lacking Motivation? Daruma Dolls have the answer

I’m sure all of us, at some point in our lives, have set ourselves some sort of goal we wish to achieve. Big or small, we all seek to better our lives one bit at a time; sometimes we succeed, other times we do not. But we all need encouragement from time to time. Early Buddhist monks in Japan decided that the best way to do this was to ensure that at all times, a one eyed doll is watching your every move to ensure you work to complete your goal. Talk about motivation!

Notice the missing eyes...
Notice the missing eyes…

Said to depict the ancient Buddhist monk Bodhidharma, these odd looking charms originated when monks found themselves unable to keep up with the demand for annual good luck charms, and figured that the best solution to this problem was to allow peasants to make their own, thus allowing these strange dolls to be used by the masses. Over time, they have been used to celebrate many aspects of traditional Japanese culture, but are now used by people who are seeking to complete a goal, and feel that they need some encouragement.

Bodhidharma had the idea to 'Mass Produce' the Daruma Dolls
Bodhidharma had the idea to ‘Mass Produce’ the Daruma Dolls

How it works is as follows; when you first acquire the doll, it will be painted completely apart from the eyes. Once you have set yourself a goal or task that needs to be accomplished, you paint in the left eye. Then, whilst you are working towards the goal you set, he will be watching over your with a single eye to ensure that you see it through to the end, which I think can be taken both as inspiring and also deeply menacing. Finally, when your goal has been achieved, you paint in the other eye before burning the doll in a small ceremony.

Daruma Temple
Daruma Temple

We all struggle sometimes to see things through to the end, so I think this serves as a good way of improving our ability to do that. All I’d recommend however is that you keep out of its line of sight whilst you are trying to sleep. I know for sure I would struggle to sleep with a one eyed doll watching over me!


I personally don’t see the Daruma Doll having any religious significance in the 21st Century. The concept is pretty straight forward, success comes from setting goals, looking back on my own achievements over the last few years’ part of my personal success entailed having a clear focus, determination and most importantly a persevering mind-set. Any Pokémon fans reading this?  Did you know a Daruma doll appeared in the Orange Islands episode “A Scare in the Air” In this episode Misty mistakes her Togepi for a Daruma doll!


I guess it’s fair to say that the majority of us westerners had no idea what Misty had picked up, but the Daruma Doll is a very common site throughout the land of the rising sun.

"Woohaaaa.....What's happened to Togepi!?"
“Woohaaaa…..What’s happened to Togepi!?”

In the Japanese versions of the Pokémon Pocket Monsters Black & White games, there is also a Pokémon called “Daruma Pokémon.”  In the English versions of Pocket Monsters Black & White it is called “Zen Charm Pokémon”. The name change for the western gamer is understandable since “Zen Charm” probably tells the average westerner a lot more about the Pokémon than “Daruma” does.

Both eyes are coloured
Both eyes are coloured

Anyway enough Pokémon talk… How about we create our own Daruma!!. OK, first of all ‘Right Click’ and ‘Save As’ the below Daruma Template to your desktop and then either print it out or trace it.

Right Mouse Click and Select 'Save Image As'
Right Mouse Click and Select ‘Save Image As’

Step 1 – Decide on a specific goal you are determined to achieve and then colour it in with the correlating colour (Don’t colour the eyes in just yet!) Blue: Personal achievement and success Gold: Wealth Green: Good health and vitality Orange: Success in school Purple: Advancement in career Red: Safety and success in every way Yellow: Security and protection

Choose Your Colour Wisely
Choose Your Colour Wisely

  • STEP 2 – Colour in Daruma’s left eye to signify commitment to achieving your goal
  • STEP 3 – Hang your coloured Daruma printout somewhere visible in your home or office so that while he focuses on your goal, you’ll be motivated to do the same!
  • STEP 4 – Once you’ve achieved your goal, colour in Daruma’s right eye to say thank you and to symbolise your accomplishment!
  • STEP 5 – Write the goal you achieved on the back on the same sheet as your Daruma! Ready to take on another challenge? Time for your next goal with a new Daruma!

    If your up for a challenge then why not create one out of Lego / NanoBlocks
    If your up for a challenge then why not create one out of Lego / Nano-blocks

That’s it folks, but there’s so much more information on Daruma online, if you find some interesting facts then please do share them by commenting below…oh and I’d LOVE to see your decorated Daruma so please send me a photo of that too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *