Learn the ropes and it’s not rope making I tell you!

 “Learn the ropes” someone told me a long time ago when I was still starting out on my first work. Funny, hearing that phrase makes you think that it was the actual “ropes” he was referring to. When in fact, what he meant was for me to learn something new or to understand how to do something.

This phrase may have a nautical origin. It may have been coined by sailors back in their days, when they had to learn which rope raised which sail and also had to learn a myriad of knots. There’s also one suggestion that it came from the world of the theatre,  where as ropes are used to raise scenery etc.  There is some doubts about the origin of this phrase. One origin stated that it was first cited in 1840 by Richard Henry Dana’s diary “Two Years before the Mast”  based on his experiences on board a voyage ship.

 Another origin suggested was from an early citation that comes from the theatre. J. Timon, in Opera Goer 1850 that states: “The belle of two weeks standing, who has ‘learned the ropes’.” The nautical derivation seems more attractive and convincing, but the jury has to remain out on this one.

 Regardless of who originated that phrase, one thing I learned from it is that it doesn’t matter if you have years of work experiences tucked under your belt. Why? Because everytime you wake up, you wake up to a whole new ball game of  learning and experiencing new things on a new day. Whether it’s work related or personal related, there are new challenges out there waiting to be discovered that we must try to understand, before we try to assume things on our own.

 So, the next time someone tells you to “learn the ropes” take it into consideration that he is not there to put you down. Rather, he or she is telling you to step up and learn to channel your wisdom energy to a whole new level of challenges thats out there waiting for you. 

Now if only there’s a good samaritan out there, who can help me learn to tie this myriad of ropes that one of the sailors asked me to do……*sigh*



~ by roadworthyman on April 17, 2008.

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