The Crab Bucket Theory


While I was away in Crete I read Burn The Bullsh!t: How To Live Before You Die by Stephen Doran. I’d been sent the book a month or so before and finally found the time to read it in the lovely sunshine of Crete. I really liked this book. Don’t worry, it’s not one of those business/self-help books that repeats the same sentiments over and over again throughout each chapter. Instead every chapter has something of worth in and is focused fully on self-development. It’s full of theories, personal experiences from the author and tasks at the end of each chapter. Most importantly, this book gives you a good kick up the bum.

I’m not one for in-depth book reviews, I’d much rather share something I learnt with you from the book. So, that’s what I’m going to do today. There were lots of useful points and tips in the book but I’m going to share one particular theory that really stuck with me; crab mentality.

The reason it stood out to me was because, unfortunately, it’s something I’ve experienced on multiple occasions throughout my life. I’m know I’m not alone with this either. I’ve seen friends and family members experience it. It’s something that, quite simply, needs to stop.

Some call it crab mentality and others say crab bucket syndrome. It doesn’t matter what you call it, it all boils down to the same thing.

This is a Filipino metaphor which relates to a bucket of crabs. If there is one crab in a bucket it’ll easily escape from it. However, when there’s a cast of crabs in a bucket they’ll all prevent one another from climbing out. They’ll reach up and pull each other down. If they worked together then they would be able to escape, but they don’t. It’s a if I’m not getting out, neither are you’ attitude.

Does this ring a bell?

In relation to our daily life, it’s where members of a group will dismiss and prevent the success of others. This can be related to friendships, relationships, careers, blogging, parenting and many more situations. You name it, there’s usually someone around who doesn’t want to see you succeed.

As you can probably imagine, the crab bucket mentality can be triggered by jealously. I like to think that the majority of people within the world of blogging like to support and lift each other up. Sadly, I know this isn’t true. I’ve witnessed it on Twitter way too often.

If you feel the crab mentality sneaking up on you then squash it. Be happy for your friends and family and congratulate them. Don’t discourage them from reaching their goals. If you’re surrounded by crabs then I’d suggest you eliminate those negative people from your life. Use their negative comments to drive you forward to reaching your goals.

Life is not a competition. We all have different goals and ideas of what success is. So, whether or not you’re happy in your bucket, don’t prevent someone else from getting out and changing their direction. And, more importantly, do not let others hold you back inside a bucket you don’t want to be.

Take control of your life and work hard towards your goals. Surrounded yourself with people who support and believe in what you do.

Have you come across people with a crab mentality in your life?

Let me know if you give Stephen Doran’s Burn The Bullsh!t: How To Live Before You Die a read.