Fill your head with learning, leave less room for sadness

The word ‘learn’ comes from the Old English verb ‘leornian’, which meant to learn – or to teach. Interesting that. Until the early 19th century, there wasn’t always a distinction between learning and teaching, and it would have been quite proper grammar to say ‘The teacher learnt the students their lessons’.

Therefore when we hear a thug in a movie telling a victim ‘that’ll learn ya’, it’s actually a throwback to the English of the 19th century.

See what I’ve been doing over the past couple of paragraphs? By looking at the word itself, I hope I’ve demonstrated that learning new things can be rewarding. It also seems highly likely that a willingness to think in new ways, about new things, makes a healthy contribution to maintaining a good state of wellbeing.


Learning comes in all manner of shapes and sizes of course, and it doesn’t necessarily have to involve the formality of a teacher and student.

All that’s required is a thirst to acquire new knowledge, and the recognition that the process is likely to work most effectively when you’re motivated by your interests. If you’ve no appetite for languages, you might not benefit greatly from learning Japanese. But if you enjoy cooking, perhaps you’d love finding out how to prepare sushi or sashimi, say.

Your learning could be how to perform a card trick; how to hang wallpaper; how to play the ukulele; how to write a simple computer program; how to change the ringtone on your phone; how to tell a bedtime story; how to knit; how to grow tomatoes; how to dance the tango; how to darn a sock.

It doesn’t matter. There’s a world of things out there waiting to be learned, and a world of advantage to be had from doing so.

4 thoughts on “Fill your head with learning, leave less room for sadness

  1. Learnt how to make angels from old books, as gifts for friends…also learnt that I should only do one every other day though, as I now have RSI…grr! Lol!

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