as this recent article on goal setting astutely pointed out, "it's not that people don't know how to set a goal. it's that they have a hard time keeping it."
i was drawn to this article because of its title (referring to "zen luck"), and was especially pleased to learn about the significance of the daruma doll in japanese culture. apparently, daruma dolls are given to individuals taking on a new challenge or direction (which can include starting a new venture or setting a significant goal). at the start of this journey, the recipient of the doll makes a wish and paints in one eye (usually the left). the other eye is painted when the goal is achieved.
Children of the 1970's, do you remember "weebles" ("weebles wobble but they won't fall down")? the creator of the weeble must have been a zen practitioner, as weebles are just like a well-made daruma doll -- "bouncing back to regain its balance, and symbolizing an undaunted spirit and recovery from misfortune."
We have a quotation hanging in the zen bungalow that reads "failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again. -- henry ford." i guess ford was a zen practitioner, too. whether you're a successful capitalist or enlightened buddhist monk, however, the lesson remains the same.
in pursuit of our goals, we will be knocked over. many times. the key to achieving our goals lies in reminding ourselves to emulate daruma. happy 2011!