The path to learning

Last month, I spent a wonderful week in the beautiful alpine village of Arosa.

The locals were very friendly

The locals were very friendly

Whilst I was there, I read this book:

The Old Ways by Robert MacFarlane

The Old Ways by Robert MacFarlane

In ‘The Old Ways’, MacFarlane explores the link between thinking and walking. This intrigued me as I often find going for a walk seems to help me unravel my thoughts and I have even run a couple of coaching sessions as a walk rather than sitting in a meeting room.

It seems that this link is evident even in the development of our language. MacFarlane writes –

The relationship between thinking and walking is also grained deep into language history, illuminated by perhaps the most wonderful etymology I know. The trail begins with our verb to learn, meaning ‘to acquire knowledge’. Moving backwards in language time, we reach the Old English leornian, ‘to get knowledge, to be cultivated’. From leornian the path leads further back, into the fricative thickets of Proto-Germanic, and to the word liznojan, which has a base sense of ‘to follow or to find a track’ (from the Proto-Indo-European prefix leis-, meaning ‘track’). ‘To learn’ therefore means at root — at route — ‘to follow a track’. 

It seems to me that whether we are literally strolling through the fields or are on a metaphorical journey through our career, this forward motion is an opportunity for personal and professional development.

Today’s pebble for you to contemplate:

What are you learning from the track you are following at work or in life at the moment?

I’d love to know what you think,


Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching. 

If you’d like to make progress in your work and life, why not email me to see how we could work together?

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2 Responses to The path to learning

  1. You might also like Brain Rules by John Medina if you haven’t already read it.


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  2. Pingback: Learning from strong landscapes | Turning over pebbles

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