The people in our life reflect who we are. In different phases of life we may attract different people. As we grow and evolve as individuals the people in our lives grow with us, fade away or hold us back. We can influence others but we can not change them. Change can only came from within. If we make the conscious choice to improve ourselves, we may also have to make choice about the people with whom we are associate. This is not always easy… We do not want to leave behind the ones we love. If they are not ready to make the same choice to evolve, we can allow them to keep us from our own goals or we can separate ourselves enough to move towards our personal goals, as we achieve our goals we can we can offer encouragement and guidance. I saw successful person surround themselves with like minded people. And when you are surrounded with positive and motivated people , you lift each other up, wanting the best for others, attract people who want the best for us. I understood that you don’t have to compete to be successful , you can rejoice in the success of the others.
Our society does not promote the idea of limitless potential. We tend to act from a state of lacking. We are taught to think another person’s success diminishes our own. We measure our level of success or failure by comparison to others. This is the cause of the crab-in-a-bucket theory. The crab-in-a-bucket theory refers to the behavior of crabs when placed inside a bucket. While a single crab may find a way to escape, when several crabs are put in a bucket, none will escape. As one crab claws its way to the top, the others will pull it back down. This is a true phenomenon. Crab mentality is also a metaphor for the human response to self-improvement in others. Often when people see others advancing themselves, they subconsciously reach out to hold them back.
John and Matt had been friends for a long time. They went to bars to drink and pick up women at least a few nights every week. They would laugh about being hung over and calling in sick for work. They did not have meaningful relationships. Women were merely a conquest. Eventually, Matt began to see the harm he was doing to himself; physically, emotionally and spiritually. He was sacrificing so many goals and desires for the same shallow experiences week after week. He decided he wanted to make a change. He told John he did not want to behave like that anymore. Instead of encouraging Matt to better himself, John took it as an insult. He saw nothing wrong with the social rut they had dug for themselves. He was comfortable with the way things were. He did not want change. John tried to drag Matt down any way he could. He even used guilt to try to keep Matt from changing. Subconsciously, he was afraid that if Matt found happiness elsewhere, it would reflect a weakness in him. Instead of seeing an opportunity for personal growth, he chose to hold his friend back.
Does this sound familiar to you? Have you ever been in Matt’s or John’s position? I would love to hear your stories about crabs in a bucket.