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Lessons from Crabs in a Barrel

I'm almost certain you are familiar with the term “crabs in a barrel”. In case you are not familiar, the term eludes to the fact that if you put a bunch of crabs into a barrel together and one starts to climb out, the others will pull it back down into the barrel. What is worst is that if the zealous crab persist, the majority within the barrel will pull it down and break its legs and or claws. In addition, if it tries again the next step is death. This is such a metaphorically morbid reality for many people that strive for success and achievement in life. Many people love to talk about it, but not half as many ask the question of how to avoid being pulled down by other crabs in their life, to which my reply is as follows:

Get out of the Barrel!

“The barrel” represents the majority, the norm, or the general idea that equips culture. In order to get out of the barrel, you will first have to be okay with being separate from the pack. This may often mean loneliness or ridicule. Therefore, your purpose is not to stay alienated from the rest of the world but to rather create an experience that will attract other like-minded people. That takes time, patience and hard work. That also means that the purpose behind your getting out of the barrel is bigger than you as it will be an example and pave a way for others after you who want the same thing.

Stay out of the Barrel!

It’s natural to desire understanding and significance among any individuals you value. However, it is important to remember the risk in going back or considering what the majority says and thinks.

When someone looks at you they will see one of three things:

who they hope to become

who they wish to never become


who they are mad for never becoming.

The ultimate risk in considering the thoughts of others when striving for success and achievement is your adaptation to a set of expectations that never belonged to you. These expectations, opinions and derision often cause people to subdue their audacious goals and replace them with the status quo. Thus getting you BACK in the barrel.

Get back in the water!

“The water” represents your zone. The place where you strive best. A crab moves swiftly when it’s in water. You can also find yourself progressing swiftly in the field, talent or position that you have a natural gift for. But it is most important to know where you thrive best. Crabs may exist better in salt water, fresh water habitats or on dry land depending on the specifics of that crabs background and life. You are the same.

Get out! Stay out! Get into what makes you better! These are the best ways to avoid living the horror of being a crab in a barrel.

Own Your Actions l Create Your Experiences @MrFrankieWilson

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