It’s a look at what is commonly called crab mentality — the notion that one crab in a bucket will scurry out, but if there are a lot of crabs in a bucket and one tries to crawl out, the others will grab that crab and pull it down.
I know this wasn’t the point, but I did try to look up whether this is actually true, since in my experience crabs are merely delicious. All I found was this:
[C]rabs pull on stuff when they can’t swim. They’re trying to move. If there’s nothing else around, they’ll pull on the other crabs. And there’s nothing else in a bucket of crabs.
Back to the crab mentality.
The analogy in human behavior is claimed to be that members of a group will attempt to negate or diminish the importance of any member who achieves success beyond the others, out of envy, spite, conspiracy, or competitive feelings, to halt their progress.
Howes notes that we don’t want to feel lonely or excluded or to disappoint or upset other people.
"Don't be afraid of losing people. Be afraid of losing yourself by trying to please everyone around you." https://t.co/2V1M2iwAyp
— Josh Shear (@JoshShear) April 15, 2017
It’s worth noting here that for survival, humans as a species had to conform to our communities or we’d be ostracized and not receive the benefits of collective living, like sharing in food gathering, child-raising, etc.
While that’s still true in many communities, if you’re in a position to listen to podcasts or read blogs, you’re most likely not stuck in such a community. It might be difficult physically or emotionally, but you can change which communities you’re a part of.
If you’re missing out on what’s possible in your life, Howes does offer some tips for dealing with people who try to hold you down while never climbing to achieve anything in their own lives:
- Have a conversation with the person hold you back. Request that person’s support for your endeavors.
- If you can’t garner that person’s support, don’t get caught in the trap of being dragged down by others. Set boundaries. Know when you have to get up from the table and not be part of the conversation.
- If necessary, significantly cut back on the time you spend with people who hold you back. Instead, go find people who life you up
You can love and support negative people from a distance, he says, but don’t spend time around them allowing their negative attitude seep into your world.
Remember, there’s room for everyone to be great.