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Dr. Pedram Shojai is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Master Herbalist and acupuncturist, and an acclaimed Qigong Master. He is the New York Times bestselling author of The Urban Monk, The Art of Stopping Time, and in his new book Focus: Bringing Time, Energy and Money into Flow he provides a step by step guide in how to set 100 Day Gongs.
Think of setting a 100 Day Gong as a grounded way to set resolutions you can begin at any time, but especially at the start of a new season like this one…
Your entire life can be seen as the sum total of all the good and bad habits that drive your day to day. The bad ones pull you down and the good ones make life better.
Think of it like gardening…
Your life is a garden and you have to make room for the 5-6 important plants that you’ve chosen…your health, friends and family, career, passions, and things you want. If a particular item is not directly associated with one of those plants, then it’s a weed. ‘Life Gardening’ then becomes an active process of pulling the weeds and supporting the plants in your life.
Seems simple but it isn’t. Why? Because we’re all so scattered that we forget what we had set out to do. We let more and more weeds into the garden and forget to keep focused on our plants.
Focus. That’s the magical word that’s become the missing ingredient in our world.
The modern world has become a slave to the Information Age. It’s now called the “Attention Economy” and your mind is the main asset. Media and social media companies make money by taking advertising dollars for the time our attention is fixated on a given story or show. When we tumble down the white water of some drama or crazy thread, advertisers are bidding for the privilege of jumping in front of us…trying to grab our attention…our eyeballs.
When we look around, we see it everywhere. People stumble around with chaotic personal lives, accrued debt, estranged relationships, and unfulfilled dreams. Our realities are a mess because our attention is being drawn away from our lives, our gardens, our priorities and into the agendas of the companies vying for our attention.
The only way out is in. In my tradition of Taoism it’s called “Retroflexion”…the turning of our attention inwards so we could become self aware. The better we get at this, the more clear our focus becomes. With this, we water the important plants in life and pull the weeds. We do this daily.
The 100 Day Gong Practice
In fact, the best way to do this is to set a 100 day goal — what I call a 100 Day Gong — and pick one to a few daily things to do that’ll help hone your focus and bring you back to life. Each day you complete adds 1% to the practice, which I call a ‘Gong’. If you miss a day, you start over. It stings and the lessons there are powerful.
Over time, you become more aware, more capable, have more agency, and start to see your life come together and simply work better. Habits take at least 90 days to form so this 100 day practice is just long enough to instill new habits and allow them to stick.
As we slowly start to identify the weeds in our garden, we pluck them. We replace bad habits with new ones that serve us…ones that water the important plants in our life. Over time, as we stick to the practice, those plants begin to thrive because of a very important fact. Namely, the lesson we’ve learned to stay vigilant and never look away. Life will continue to throw things at us in the Attention Economy. The onus is on us to stay aware and awake and to constantly focus our attention on what’s important in our lives. That’s the path to mastery. It’s also a path to a happy and fulfilling life.
Ready to dive into your first 100 Day Gong? I’ve created a free course, 21 Days to Focus, to help you spend hone in, get focused and get clear on your goals and intentions so you can kick off the New Year and your Gong with clarity for ultimate success.