Learning Business from Mother Goose

Many childhood nursery rhymes have been used as analogy and metaphors for business for years. These have been proven effective methods for getting a new perspective on an old idea or basic concept. Let’s take a classic 1659 nursery rhyme from Mother Goose and see how it could apply visually to business.

“Jack be nimble, Jack be quick. Jack jump over the candlestick.”

Jack B NimbleTo understand this power that this rhyme has as an analogy for business, we must first understand the origin of the rhyme for its true meaning.

Over the span of several centuries, jumping over a candle was both a sport and method in England of foretelling one’s future. With a lit candle placed upon the floor, a person would jump over the candle without putting out the flame. In sports, the candle would be raised, much like that of a high jumpers crossbar. In foretelling ones future, being successful, would signify great fortune for the coming year.

Time To Get Creative

For this use of the analogy the rhyme and illustration will be used for various aspects of business. In this application, Jack represents the small business owner or start-up operator. The first line, ‘Jack be nimble’ can be used to express the need or ability of a small business to be agile or nimble when approaching a business venture. ‘Jack be quick,’ speaks clearly. One must move quickly to gain a competitive advantage over the competition. ‘Jack jump over the candlestick.’ could represent the need to have a strong strategy and alternative plan to overcome obstacles along the way.

Final, what Jack is jumping over is the candlestick attempting not to disturb the flame. This could be used to represent opportunities and the need to avoid disrupting that opportunity by being hasty or trying to carry out the task unprepared. To be successful, be it jumping over flames of a candlestick like Jack or entering into a business venture, proper preparation and strategy are the keys to success.

So remember those childhood stories and rhymes and realize they were created to teach lessons through storytelling. Use these stories again and teach with analogies.

Last word of creative insight, act like Jack and you can be successful the whole year-long.

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