Wisdom is often taught best via parables and stories. That, plus it also helps me appear less sanctimonious when it’s coming from someone besides myself – some unknown source passed from generation to generation.
Read this short story below and see if it hits home as hard for you as it did for me.
THE STORY OF THE CRAB BUCKET
One time a man was walking along the beach and saw another man fishing in the surf with a bait bucket beside him. As he drew closer, he saw that the bait bucket had no lid and had live crabs inside.
“Why don’t you cover your bait bucket so the crabs won’t escape?”, he said.
“You don’t understand.”, the man replied, “If there is one crab in the bucket it would surely crawl out very quickly.
However, when there are many crabs in the bucket, if one tries to crawl up the side, the others grab hold of it and pull it back down so that it will share the same fate as the rest of them.”
Don’t be one of those bottom-feeding, jealous crabs. How often have you tried to move up in the world, only to find your friends and those close to you apathetic at best, or welcoming you with subtle jabs to marginalize your efforts and pursuits? Step one would be to eliminate or severely limit your exposure to those types of crabs holding you down, but sadly it’s widely pervasive.
A dual approach would be to control what you can control: yourself. Break the crab mentality. When you feel that ping of jealousy or envy, pause and decide whether you want to be the crab or you want to NOT take it as a personal insult on your ego/life and use it as FUEL to better yourself by learning from that crab crawling out of the bucket ahead of you in any given life domain (health, business, relationships, etc.)
I recently encountered an acquaintance’s blog that is 10x past yours truly, and I felt the negative ping. If you don’t believe there are more popular blogs than mine, Google <fill in the blank anything> and you might be able to confirm. In my proudest meditative zen moment, I felt it, acknowledge it, and decided to learn from him to better my own success rather than twist my life lens kaleidoscope in such a way that I could still see him as inferior to placate my petty ego.
Champions don’t have a panic button. Champions focus on what they need to do to up-level themselves, putting in the right work day after day. Champions don’t have crab mentality. And I’m an authority when it comes to champions since I won my high school football championship. O’Doyle rules! Side note, if my unborn child looks at my championship ring for at least two seconds I won’t consider it an utter waste of $300 bucks.
If you want a more eloquent explanation of this general sentiment, read about the Abundance Mentality.
Go out there, crush it, and don’t be the crab.
When was the last time you experienced the crab mentality, and how did you choose to ultimately respond?