You have heard of the crab in the bucket story. You throw a bunch of crabs in a bucket, and none of them can get out of the bucket. Some crabs will land on others and be much closer to getting out. As soon as crab grabs that ledge, others grab on and make sure everyone stays in the bucket. Humans do this all the time, and we call it the crab mentality.

The biggest problem with the crab in the bucket story is that the crabs could all get out of the bucket. If they worked together, it would be a different story. They could form a chain that allows all the crabs to climb out of the bucket. Instead of pulling each other down, they would pull each other out. It a choice to choose the crab mentality over conscious discipline

If you want to develop a growth mindset, the easiest way to do it is to learn. Start reading books and listening to educational podcasts. They will expand your mind and open you up to new perspectives.

Click to Tweet

Growth Mindset Over The Crab Mentality

Having a growth mindset is essential to defeating the crab mentality. These two ways of thinking are the opposite. The crab mentality focuses on lack where the growth mentality concentrates on plenty.

Actions of People With a Crab Mentality?

  • Entitled
  • Hold grudges
  • Take credit for others work
  • Blame others for failures
  • Avoid challenges
  • Hoard information
  • Lack of goals
  • Avoid any form of conscious discipline
  • Believe that there is only so much to go around

When you meditate on the list above, it's easy to see how the crab in the bucket story plays out the way it does. Entitlement makes people feel that they should be the one with success. When they see others succeeding, they get fearful and jealous. They fear that they will consume all the resources without them. Instead of working on getting to the top, they try and stall others.

What makes the crab mentality worse is it ignores people who have solutions. Others start refusing to share because they don't want to see others win. It's easier to keep the idea hidden so that everyone fails.

There is More Than Enough

Actions of Those With a Growth Mindset?

  • Compliment others
  • Always learning
  • Talk about ideas instead of people
  • Clear goals
  • Takes ownership
  • Shares information
  • Give others credit for victories

The growth mindset is the opposite of the crab mentality. The growth mindset is all about sharing, helping, and growing. Great leaders always have a growth mindset. You must be willing to share a compliment, ideas, information. The only thing growth cares about is getting closer to the goal.

A crab in a bucket with a growth mindset is thinking, "how do we get every crab out of this bucket?" The other way of thinking is only asking, "how do I get myself out of this bucket?" The stating question changes everything. The growth-minded way of thinking is trying to help the group succeed.

If you think with a crab mentality, the first thing you need to do is understand that there is enough. The resources of the world do not run out. We have not run out of money or food or anything else. People rob and steal because they feel the pinch of not having. They assume that they do not have a lot because there is not a lot out there.

To shake off the growth mindset. You have to get into the habit of giving and sharing. Giving is a great thing to do because it releases the grip of scarcity. If you have $10 and feel like you can never get another $10 you hold on to it with your life. But when you give it away, you show the world that there is more than enough.

Teamwork Over Competition

The crab mentality spreads a vicious lie to its member. That lie is that you have to do everything on your own because you can't trust anyone. The growth-minded people know that we always go further together than we could ever go alone.

When you are working with others, 1+1 does not =2. A partnership is powerful, 1+1 can equal five sometimes. When crabs are in a bucket, they have enough crabs to make it easy for every crab to get out if they work together. Working together means trusting every person to do their job.

The crab mentality looks to compete. Those within its ranks always want to prove that they are the best to justify their entitlement. They don't want to win either, but they want to see others lose as possible.

These ways of thinking have to go. The best way to do it is to refuse to go at anything alone. If you start a business, find a partner. If you were going to volunteer somewhere, bring a friend. When you are doing projects around the house, get some help. Get used to asking people for help because it will kill a bit of your ego each time.

The Conscious Discipline of Constantly Learning

People with a growth mindset are learning as much as possible. The crab mentality refuses to take in any new information. People with a growth mindset may try and climb out the bucket once and get pulled down. That is enough to realize that something fundamental needs to change. They would spend their time convincing the other crabs to have a growth mindset. They would paint a picture of them all being out of the bucket.

People with the crab mentality keep trying the same thing over and over. They don't want to hear any new information or read some books on how to get out of the bucket. They prefer to be stubborn. It stems from thinking that their brain capacity has limits. Where people with a growth mindset believe the more, they learn, the more their brain can learn. The crab mentality thinks that we are all blessed with a certain amount of knowledge, and that's it.

If you want to develop a growth mindset, the easiest way to do it is to learn. Start reading books and listening to educational podcasts. They will expand your mind and open you up to new perspectives.

You will hear stories of others who are working together, and it will help to change your mind. Reading also makes you hungry to learn more when you are consistent with it.

Fighting the Crab Mentality With The Law of 33%

The law of 33% says that we should spend 33% of the time with people above us, people below us and people on the same level. They all have different things to offer.

When you hang with people above you, they show you a new way of thinking and living. When you hang with people below you, its a chance to give back and teach. People on your level are your natural peer group.

People at the bottom of the bucket spend too much time with like-minded people. It does not long before you adopt the same attitudes of those around you.

When you begin reading books, you will change on the inside. The tough part is that your environment may still hold you back. When you get around people doing things at a \than you, it helps to let go of the crab mentality.

Push Up Don't Drag Down

One of the most useful pieces of advice for anyone looking to break free of the crab mentality is to help others. We all are in positions where we can help someone. We can make a conscious choice to do so

The crab in the bucket would not be a thing if each crab would help the other out and trust that they will pay it forward. Know that sometimes you will help people and they will not care or return the favor. You will get burned, and you will have a stronger character as a result.

Most of the time, when you help people, they will return the favor at some point. There are more than enough resources out there, but you have to be willing to share.

How to Develop the Habit of Reading So You Can Learn to Overcome the Crab Mentality

The key to reading every day is to start small and use a tracker like Habit Stacker. It's much easier to create new habits when you start with small actions. You don't need to start reading for an hour a day. You need to start reading one page a day until that feels easy.

Over time you will read a bit more. Before you know it, you have read 20 pages, and you are doing it daily. Habit Stacker helps you to track whether you read each day or not.

The second thing the app will do is add an accountability partner. Remember we are not doing things alone anymore! If you do not read your partner will get a notification saying so.

Ian Warner

About the author

I went from a broken leg to a 2012 Olympian. I have spent the last 15 years building positive habits as a track athlete and entrepreneur. I founded Habit Stacker and dedicated my life to helping people to develop winning habits. I have helped over 5,000 people...

There might be affiliate links on this page, which means we get a small commission of anything you buy. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Please do your own research before making any online purchase.

Related Posts