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What Should You Do with the Rest of Your Life?

What should I do with the rest of my life? was the question discussed at the knowledge caf
held at Regents University London, Regents Park, London on Wednesday 4 th November 2015.
Over 80 people from the London Gurteen Knowledge Management Community and the MA
Global Management postgraduate programme discussed this question. Peter Sharp, Principal
Lecturer at Regents University London, organised the event and suggested this question because
it fitted well with business and life essential skills teaching he had done with the students. Also, it
is a question relevant for anyone of any age. The purpose of the night was to explore this theme
by sharing thinking using the knowledge caf format.
Marion Eastwood, Learning and Development, Regents
University London and postgraduate students welcomed
participants through to Herringham Hall where, food and drink
were enjoyed. Peter Sharp introduced participants to the
University and Jose Machado, Dean of Business and
Management faculty, awarded prizes to winning teams of
students who competed in the MyFirstMillion key skills
workshop.

David Gurteen, facilitator for the knowledge cafe, led


speed networking, introduced the knowledge caf format
and the three speakers. Each speaker spoke for 5 minutes.
The first speaker, Julian Childs, Career Coach & Business
Advisor at Regents University London, said I am here for
a good time, not a long time. Julian reflected on different
stages of life and how this effects ones outlook. Julian
suggested that if you were born in 2000, on average, you
have 65 years longer to live and your attitude is chill. If
you were born in 1960 you may only have 15-19 years
longer to live and your attitude is eeek! Julian said he is
David Gurteen
more in the eeek! category and wants to
fit in what he wants to do, leave a good
legacy, be happy and comfortable in old
age. He said that a tombstone near where
he lives reads A Happy Man and Julian
said he wants this to be true of himself.

The second speaker, Sally Gurteen, said that she was influenced by her
Dad and his experiences facilitating events and helping people to
connect and share in caf environments. She said that she had just been
offered a job at Caf Nero working in digital marketing. She wants to
set up a caf of her own in the future to facilitate the family business
of knowledge caf.

Sally Gurteen

The third speaker, Eric Chan, MA Global Management Programme


Director and Life Coach, said that he had been deeply affected by a talk
he attended about 20 years ago where the speaker said that you have
the power within you to do whatever you want to do. Eric explained
that his desire in life is to do good for other people, be happy and one
day set up a retreat where people can slow down, meditate and find
healing.
Eric Chan
The workshop went in to
knowledge caf format. Everyone
present took up discussion of the
topic in groups of approximately
five. Discussion lasted for about
15 minutes before David Gurteen
organised a change of personnel in
groups for more discussion. This
was repeated one more time. Then
David Gurteen facilitated a
plenary discussion in a large
circle.

Knowledge Caf Format

Various themes recurred in the knowledge caf. One of these themes was the desire to be
happy. For different people this may mean different things. One person suggested that
happiness and sadness were temporary but joy could be permanent and something that
resonates with a persons inner core. Another participant said that your view on this issue
depends on your personal values. People discussed whether they were content with what they
have. Some participants believe this is related to a work life balance (work, rest, recreation
and comfortable accommodation). Some participants limited their vision to the near future
when they hoped that they would be able to greater independence in their personal
accommodation.
Another theme was the degree to which you can plan your life. To what degree do things just
happen by chance? A postgraduate student from India has a structured plan for life with targets
for each 10 year period he lives. Broadly, his plan was to the earn money while he is younger
and later share his wealth. Another postgraduate student from Iran said that people should
value charity before it is too late. A work placement module leader said how a work placement
student from Russia had told him a few days before the knowledge caf, how much his life
direction had changed within a few weeks. Steve Ellis, Associate Dean of Business and
Management faculty, Regents University London, advised students not to wait too long to do
the things they want to do. His message was dont leave things until it is too late.

Other themes discussed included:

changes of thinking people have when they share knowledge;


significance of travel in life experience;
the concept of life as a journey;
the significance of visas and country of living;
the significance of relationships and conversation for life experience;
how discussion forums and conversation are themselves key components of a fulfilled
life and;
the importance of being valued.

The conversation concluded with Peter Sharp thanking David Gurteen, Julian Childs, Sally
Gurteen and Eric Chan for their contributions to the evening. Each person was given a small
gift. Eric Chan gave Peter Sharp a small gift thanking him for organising the event.
There was positive feedback from participants on the experience on the night. Some of these
comments are given below.

I thought the knowledge cafe was great. I have actually signed up to the next
knowledge cafe and I am looking forward to the next one. It was an interesting event
and a great opportunity for networking and learning. (Rachel Walsh, Student
Representative, MA Global Management, Regents University London)
I enjoyed [the] evening and I liked the way it brought together a good number of
[Regents University London] students and sprinkling of staff for lively discussion
with an eclectic mix of mature outsiders To my mind that is a very valid part of
what University is all about. (Julian Childs, Career Coach & Business Advisor,
Regents University London)

Participants enjoying conversations

Peter Sharp and Julian Childs

The unique environment of Regents University London with its truly multicultural and
multinational client base added another perspective to the knowledge caf concept. The vast
diversity of back grounds and experiences of those involved was a significant factor in
opening minds to the possibilities of what to do with the rest of your life?
Peter Sharp

8th December 2015