posted 27 Jun 2007 in Volume 10 Issue 9
The Gurteen perspective
Just do it
By David Gurteen
Have you ever read any of the many self-help books that tell you that if you wish to succeed or get something done you should just start doing it? One of my favourite quotes on this matter is from the book, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julie Cameron where she says, “leap and the net will appear”.
I’ve come to believe this is true. Let me tell you the story about my early knowledge cafés.
For a year or more before I started my cafés, I had had the idea, but could not figure out how I might find suitable venues in central London. I wanted rooms, ideally with round tables, and I also wanted to provide free coffee. But there was a catch. I did not want to charge for the events, nor be out of pocket myself!
So I hesitated. I kept putting it off. Then one day I simply decided to ‘just do it’.
I visited a central London hotel and, to cut a long story short, negotiated a room for free. It was a small business lounge with easy chairs and was ideal. I had to pay and charge for coffee, but as long as we drank in the hotel bar afterwards the room was free.
Brilliant! I ran the first knowledge café and it was a great success. So a month later I phoned to arrange the room again. What rotten luck – the person I had the agreement with had left and I had to speak to the new manager. She wanted £400 for the room for the evening. I was shattered. How was I going to find another room quickly?
Well I had committed myself – there was no going back – I had to find one. Surprisingly, it was not difficult – as soon as I explained what I was doing and asked people – suggestions and offers came forth.
I have now been running the London cafés for almost five years. I never have a problem finding a room. I even usually get the coffee and biscuits for free. And sometimes even wine and sandwiches. Better still, by the time this article is in print I will have held the fifth ‘knowledge barbeque’, courtesy of the London Knowledge Network, at the University of Greenwich. Something I could never have anticipated before I started.
And now, whenever I travel to another city around the world I find someone who will host a knowledge café and I run an open one for free. Since the beginning of the year I have run them in Stavanger in Norway, Jakarta in Indonesia and Washington DC.
A lot more fun than sitting in my hotel room!
WH Murray sums up the power of the commitment to an idea in his book The Scottish Himalayan Expedition 1951. “This may sound too simple, but is great in consequence. Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.”
So what have you been hesitating over? Why not just do it and see if providence moves for you, too.
David Gurteen is the founder of the Gurteen Knowledge Community. He can be contacted at www.gurteen.com.