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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Learn Something New

Long ago (in another life) I met a great old Baptist minister named Ed. He was also the head of the school board in his small mountain town in Northern California, and a kind of all-around Renaissance Guy.

Once we were talking about the name of a plant, and trying to derive its meaning from Greek roots. Ed pulled out a dictionary and confirmed our guesses, then looked at me and, in inimitable Baptist style, said, "Isn't it just good to know?"

Yes, Ed, it is.

Knowing stuff boosts our confidence. It makes us more interesting. It makes us more flexible when new situations arise. It inspires creativity. It makes us better people.

I prefer to learn nonsense--uh, sorry--trivia. Others prefer something more practical.

But whatever your path, trivial or useful, it's a good idea to learn a little something every day.

You could start online. Lots of sites have subscriptions where you can have things sent to your mail. You can get spiritual stuff ("Daily Dhammapada," or "Verse of the Day"), or more mundane knowledge, like at Wikipedia, maybe, or Dictionary.com.

Learning doesn't have to be painful. Take it in small bites and you'll be surprised at how quickly you accumulate an arsenal of knowledge.

And don't worry about that "old dogs, new tricks" thing. The great scholar Mortimer Adler (who published his last book in his 90s) said, "Education is wasted on the young."

So go learn something new, starting right now.

You'll be happier.

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