CRABS IN A BUCKET
'Crab Mentality' aka 'Crabs In a Bucket'*
It describes a way of thinking best described by the phrase “if I can’t have it, neither can you.” The metaphor refers to a pot of crabs. Individually, the crabs could easily escape from the pot, but instead, they grab at each other in a useless “king of the hill” competition which prevents any from escaping and ensures their collective demise.
The analogy in human behaviour is that members of a group will attempt to “pull down” (negate or diminish the importance of) any member who achieves success beyond the others, out of envy, conspiracy or competitive feelings.*
Everything that we ever go through is just a lesson and/or a reason for change. Either a personal change, a change in your surroundings, your job… A lesson in life, future relationships and personal growth. I have never been bitter about any of the experiences in my life. I cannot say I am grateful for all of them as that would be a lie, but I definitely understand why they happened and what influence it had on my life.
I think that is very important to remember when dealing with difficult situations. You need to ditch the victimised approach and stop letting things ‘just happen’ to you. I know a lot of people who do not take responsibility for their own life. At all. Everything is someone else’s fault, the world is against them, they are just unlucky – not happy and do not deserve to be happy. Half of those people are purely lazy to want to ever change and take some responsibility for their actions. Others, genuinely believe they do not deserve happiness.
First of all, everyone deserves happiness. Yes, everyone. Even those who you may not necessarily want happiness for, they too deserve happiness. Whatever that happiness may be. Second of all, there is no such thing as lucky. In the basic studies of psychology we are taught how our subconscious thoughts and actions influence our lives on a larger scale. This is where the psychology of positive and negative thinking comes in and makes the topic fascinating. In the studies of negative and positive psychology, it has been found that the longer and more frequently someone repeats negative (or positive) statements, the more likely they are to actually believe them. It is exactly the same basis as to how advertising works or our habits are developed – the more you repeat something, the easier it becomes to remember and eventually, you will do it without even thinking.
You can sit in front of a mirror and tell yourself ‘I look disgusting’ and the more you tell yourself that, the easier it is to believe and then to think it without actually needing to say it. Once you believe it, your confidence goes down, your mood changes and it can even lead to depression. The same works with positive thinking. If you sit in front of the mirror and tell yourself ‘I look beautiful’ eventually, repeat it enough times – and you will also be able to see that and believe it.
Of course, the positive thinking strategy is a lot harder than the negative. We are our own harshest critics and we will always see our own flaws first. It is time to realise that. No, seriously. Really think about that. You will ALWAYS see your own flaws, but how many times has someone actually pointed out those things you are so worried about? How many times has someone made a comment about what you are insecure about? Of course, there are incidents of bullying and people can be nasty. The thing to realise here is that people will always talk. People will always find something to moan about, or to criticise. We are not nice beings. But we can be.
People bully, pick on others or make nasty comments out of their own insecurities, out of jealousy they feel for others, because of their own misfortune and low self-esteem. A person who treats others with dignity and respect will not be nasty. A person who is confident and sure of themselves will not find the time to belittle others. To hell with those, who do not have enough common decency to look past their own front yard and gain a little perspective.
I’ve met a lot of people who tried to convince me that I have no idea what I am doing. That I am too young to run a business. That I am too irresponsible, not serious enough… That I am inexperienced. I’ve also met a lot of people who tried to convince me that being freelance is ‘too hard’ and doesn’t ‘bring enough effects to be sustainable’. I have been patronised, belittled, mocked. It has been most of all frustrating to be hearing these words from people that you would hope would support me, would encourage me and believe in me. While you are reading this, do not feel sorry for me. I don’t feel sorry for me. Those people weren’t the best for me, and they did not have a place in my life. Respectively, I have got rid of them out of my life, leaving myself with a handful of people that do trust and believe in what I am doing and are happy for me to be successful.
If anything, these people have shown me their own flaws, their own broken egos and low self-esteem. Their inability to think in other boxes than ‘white’ and ‘black’ and I cannot conform to such firm contrasting believes. I am a big fan of the grey area. Whether that’s right or wrong, that’s for you to decide, and for you to judge me on it. Feel free.
You shouldn’t worry about what those ‘other people’ say about you. As a freelancer or business person – or in personal life – people will always talk but it is for you to decide what to do with that information. Going back to our previous point: if you repeat something enough times, chances are you will eventually start believing it. If you listen to people telling you that you are doing something wrong – you run a risk of being sucked back down to the bottom. If you are feeling that your personal or professional environment is being polluted – you need to take action. Get rid of the "toxic" and wave goodbye to those who are dragging you down.
There’s this story that I read in a book once and it really resonates with the point I just made. About people being stuck in their own worlds of egos and insecurities – scared of anything that is new or unknown. They are scared BECAUSE it is unknown and they do not want a challenge as they are scared they will not be able to complete it, because they are scared to leave their comfort zone and experience something new - due to their deeply-rooted insecurities.
This is what those people are trying to achieve. You try to be different, and create your own path, but people who do not understand your different way of thinking – will be negative towards it. This kind of behaviour goes all the way back to primeval times, where we fear of what we do not know in case it may kill us. However, we have far evolved from those times, we can now think much more rationally and independently. Yet, some have a very hard time accepting that.
You definitely do not want to stoop to their level of belittling or making patronising comments. Your way does not mean the better way, it is just what works for you. You do not need a meeting with all your friends to tell them what exactly you think. The best way? The best way is to just keep doing what you are doing and focus on the positives – on the feedback you are receiving, on the small successes you are achieving.
Every success brings you closer to the ultimate goal. If it is 20 more views on your website rather than 200 and even if it is 10 followers a week, rather than 1000. It is okay, because each of those little successes will count toward the bigger picture. People will always be jealous but it will almost always come from their own inability to achieve what you can achieve / have achieved and they will try to pull you down the bucket. Don't let them.You will not even realise how far you’ve come when you look back on how much you’ve already achieved.
Think about how much you’ve achieved since you've started!
Do not worry about your ‘To – Do lists’, make a ‘Done’ list and just keep going!
* Explanation by Wikipedia,
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