The highest treason a crab can commit is to make a leap for the rim of the bucket. Steven Pressfield
On any visit to the fish market, the bucket of crabs is always a given availability in the mornings. An interesting phenomenon is noticed when all crabs are put together in a bucket. When one of them tries to get out of the bucket, others pull him back. Sometimes crabs show their anger especially when they drag their kinsman at the last moment, when he has almost reached the edge of the bucket. This pattern of behaviour noted in crabs results in the efforts of any one crab’s escape being undermined by the others, ensuring the group’s collective demise.
“You cannot strengthen one by weakening another; and you cannot add to the stature of a dwarf by cutting off the leg of a giant.” Benjamin Franklin Fairless
We may have come across this phenomenon among our fellow beings, known as “Crab mentality” or “crabs in a bucket (also barrel, basket or pot)” is typical of selfish, myopic thinking which is best described by the phrase “if I can not, then you can not”. The analogy in human behaviour or the way of thinking is when members of a group will attempt to reduce the self-confidence of any member to halt their progress especially those who accomplish anything beyond the others. The root trigger of this behaviour stems out of envy, resentment, spite, conspiracy, or competitive feelings.
“Like those crabs which dress themselves with seaweed, we wear belief and custom.” Cyril Connolly
We rarely realize how many situations we have come across with peers behaving like crabs or we being one at times. There are many simple examples to highlight how easy is to be one with a crab mentality in our daily life. When a person tries to turn over a new leaf like quit smoking or control the alcohol intake limit; then friends say “it will not work anyway,” signals crab mentality. When you get a second degree and colleagues loudly wonder, exclaim and question why you need it because you already have a job highlights crab mentality again. While starting something new like an art, learning a new skill we often hear rash words of being stupid, wrong timing, nothing good will come of it; at times they all echo the pulling down behavior of the crabs.
This is human nature, and nothing can be done about it, except for one thing – to be stronger than a bucket and crawl forward, even when a hundred people are pulling you back.