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For want of a nail poem: from the shoe, to the rider, the battle and the kingdom it's all lost because that fellow dropped the nail

For want of a nail

An ode to the importance of little things.

This classic poem memorably paints a picture of how small details can matter, and how small changes can make a difference. Taking that extra bit of care, adding that extra bit of polish, helping that person when you had nothing to gain, showing up with generosity — all small actions that through their effect on others can, ultimately, have a large impact.

This same idea also applies to how we choose to spend our money and our time through contagious commerce — from Seth Godin:

Early adopters change the world.

While one person choosing not to eat meat will have a small impact on our climate, it will have a much bigger impact on the restaurants, groceries and food suppliers who notice what you’re doing.

They’ll change what they offer, and that will lead to a multiplier effect of other people changing their habits.

Buying an electric car or installing solar before they’re the obvious economic choice has the same impact. Because once marketers and investors discover that there’s a significant group that likes to go first, they’re far more likely to invest the time and energy to improve what’s already there...

...Very few people have the leverage to change the world. But all of us have the chance to change the people around us, and those actions change what gets built, funded and launched.


For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for want of a nail.

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