But when the fox hath once got in his nose, He’ll soon find means to make the body follow.

What did William Shakespeare mean by:

But when the fox hath once got in his nose, He’ll soon find means to make the body follow.


This quote is a metaphorical observation about the nature of cunning and ambition. The fox is a symbol of cunning, and the act of getting its nose in symbolizes the initial success or the first step towards a goal. Once that first step is taken, the rest – represented by the body of the fox – will follow. The idea is that once an individual has made a small start or gained a slight advantage, they will find ways to maximize that advantage and achieve their full aim or goal.

In the context of today’s world, this quote could be applied to many situations. For instance, in business, once a company has established a small market share or foothold, it can use this as a springboard to expand and grow. The initial success provides valuable experience, resources, and confidence that can be leveraged to achieve greater success.

In terms of personal development, the quote suggests the importance of taking the first step towards a goal. It might seem daunting to achieve a big goal, but once you make a start, however small, it becomes easier to continue and make progress. The initial step, whether it’s starting a new habit, learning a new skill, or making a lifestyle change, breaks the inertia and paves the way for continued effort and eventual success.

The quote also implies the importance of being cunning and strategic like the fox. It’s not just about brute force or hard work, but also about smart work. It’s about finding the right opportunities, the right timing, and the right methods to achieve your goals. This is a valuable lesson in today’s highly competitive world where being strategic and innovative often makes the difference between success and failure.

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