For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost. For want of a rider the battle was lost. For want of a battle the kingdom was lost. All for the want of a horseshoe nail. Many of us have heard that rhyme as we grew up.
I attended a seminar many, many years ago and the presenter handed out nails. They were funny looking nails, but we held on to them for a few moments. He asked us to examine them and determine what part that nail could play in our lives. None of us had ever seen a horseshoe nail. He explained that small actions not taken can have a large effect in our lives.
Was the nail in the rhyme indicative of a particular battle or kingdom that was lost? It has been attributed in some texts to the death of Richard the 3rd of England at the Battle of Bosworth Field. Richard the 3rd was King of England for a little over two years. The Earl of Richmond, Henry Tudor, eventually won the War of the Roses and established his dynasty over England and Wales for the next 117 years.
Interestingly enough, in 1591, Shakespeare dramatized the Battle of Bosworth Field in Richard III (Act 4 Scene 4) and portrayed King Richard III on his horse bogged in a mud pit, unable to move. King Richard shouted, “A Horse! A Horse! My Kingdom for a Horse!” Is a horse on the same level as a nail? Probably, since kings had armies at their disposal – a horse was a small part of the overall picture.
In the days of old, rhymes were used to parody historical political events, people, royalty, etc. The lyrics allowed the common folk to do three things – two obvious and the other one not so obvious. The first objective was to go around the restrictions on free speech or dissent as it was known then. The second factor is that it taught kids to remember. Rhymes were easy to remember allowed for that type of learning to be passed down.
The last point evolved as a process to apply logic to consequences – explain what might or could happen if you did what was always done before. It helped your thinking processes. It tasked your ability to see the reality of your current condition and what could happen if you did this or that – or, in their thinking, not doing this or that.
Forbes magazine had an advertisement several years ago. The word ‘Think‘ was prominently displayed at the top of the page. It was fairly short and caught my attention.
Few things possess more Power than a Thought. Because a Thought has the potential to become something significant. To solve something meaningful. And to inspire us to achieve great things. What makes a Thought so powerful is that it can be created by anybody. At anytime. From anywhere. That’s why Thinking should be encouraged and nurtured in all its forms. No matter how small. Or how impossibly grand. Because wherever Thinking happens, Big Ideas follow. Minds become enlightened. Knowledge grows. And people discover new ways to unlock their Potential. So start Thinking.
Language, words, experiences, debates, reasoning, etc. made us what we are today. But, most of us do not engage in stimulating mental jousting to defend ourselves. As we accept who we are, we become conditioned to remain in our status quo for the rest of our lives. We have the potential to become much more than we are today, but we choose not to engage in the activities necessary to evaluate or make those decisions.
Even if we make the decision to do it, we find resistance from our subconscious mind which prevents us from fully achieving it. We pass it off as another attempt to improve that failed. We file it under ‘failure’ to be resurrected when needed to thwart our next opportunity for improvement. Thinking is critical to step out of the life you currently have to attain the capacity to help yourself and your legacy – not to mention all those you can help by being in a position to do so.