Crabs in a Bucket Mentality (I’ll Show You…)

If you put crabs in a bucket, they perform a behavior that happens when someone tries to climb from the pail.

Just have a look below…

My dad, before we ate these crabs I caught πŸ™‚

Whoever tries to escape will get pulled down by its fellow crabs. πŸ¦€πŸ¦€πŸ¦€

Yes, you heard that right. Instead of helping each other climb out of the bucket, crabs tend to grab the legs of the one escaping and pull it down.

With this kind of behavior, no crab will make it out of the bucket unless someone pulls one out and has it ready as their food.

This trait has become popular, that people even named it the Crab Mentality, which means “if I can’t have it, neither can you” mentality.

Interesting – kind of like some human behavior, huh?

I have for the most part tried to ignore the crab in a bucket theory while building out my Life List.

What’s With Crab in a Bucket Mentality?

This kind of behavior is not just present among crabs but also in humans.

Indeed, whenever you expect to accomplish something beyond the norm.

Now and again, the test isn’t even the new test. Sometimes the test is disposing of the multitude of individuals keeping you down.

The Crabs in a Bucket Phenomenon

It isn’t what you are trying to achieve that is hard, but rather the environment trying to pull you down, so you don’t get to accomplish something.

Related: How to Set Goals in 6 Week Blocks

Why does that happen?

Since when you change, it makes others feel uncomfortable.

And we humans sure don’t like to feel uncomfortable!

Because of that, instead of trying to find answers to push themselves forward. Instead, they find reasons to make you think not to do what you want to achieve and leave them behind your shadows.

They hinder you and keep you stagnant because they start a self-evaluation on what they could have done better to keep up with you.

Who would want to see someone succeed when they’re ‘stuck’?

Indeed, almost everyone has experienced this kind of treatment from others.

Or maybe you put this crabby behavior towards someone? πŸ¦€ πŸ¦€πŸ¦€

Shame on you 😁

Like when your friend studies for a test, you tell him/her, “Why are you studying so much?”

Or it could be that every time someone feels happy or is celebrating, you feel jealous or more like you are panicking.

Crab mentality isn’t just about what you do or what you say, but also about what you feel when someone experiences something positive.

If you feel that you have this kind of attitude, it’s not too late to change.

However, it requires dedication to do so.

Like, you might even be thinking about beg decisions, like college. Well, like crabs in a bucket, misery loves company. Don’t fall for that. This vid below can help you think through the college thing…

Escaping the Crab-Bucket

Prepare Yourself

The first to do to get out of the bucket that you are in right now is to prepare yourself.

It would be best if you prepared your mind to stick to your goal, no matter what happens, no matter what other say.

In the process, you will lose something but will gain something much better – it will be an excellent trade, so do not worry.

Heard of the tall poppy syndrome? It’s sort of similar to crabs in a bucket, and I think you’ll find it interesting…

Find New Crabs

If you are now ready for whatever consequences your actions would make, proceed to the next step: Change the People Holding You Back.

That means if you think that your friends are hindering your growth as a person, get out of that group and try to find motivated individuals like you.

That way, you won’t have to worry about people that will pull you down.

However, if ever some of the old friends you have tried to reach out to you and say he/she has changed, give them a chance.

Maybe they dropped the old crabs gang.

Remember, it’s human behavior, and you started out like this too!

Set Your Goal: Have Vision For Yourself

After finding new friends to help you stay motivated instead of pulling you down, use them as inspiration for the goals that you want to achieve.

It may be that those goals are for the group to accomplish.

Doesn’t matter.

They are your set of plans, after all.

The point of setting your goal or having a bucket is for you to have a direction.

Sure, you could leave your old friends, but what are you going to do now?

With the goals you set, you will be able to find out what you will do next. It will be hard if you act based solely on your instinct.

However, having your bucket list helps in knowing what you would want to do and enables you to understand where you should be heading.

Like a crab, once you got out of the bucket, where would you want to go next?

Back to the ocean?

Ok, make sure you…

Get Out of the Pail

Now that you have prepared yourself, found motivated people, and set goals, it is time to get out of the bucket you are in right now.

Remember the statement mentioned above about knowing where to go next?

That step starts here.

Getting out of the bucket means setting sail to a new environment; it may be a new job or workplace or a new place to stay.

Or a new place to move entirely to be an escaping crab!


Puerto Rico?

The reason why a new environment is necessary is that everything that surrounds you affects your decisions.

For example, you want to dedicate yourself to working out, but since the gym is distant from your house, you abandon your regular exercise plans.

It also affects your mood towards something. When you have a boss and colleagues who do not treat you properly when you are at work, you tend to feel discouraged from going to your job.

Use this new positivity and your physical health to be productive and boost other people’s spirits. Get productive! Watch below…

Know Your Environment

In the end, your environment affects you that much. That is why when you start feeling distressed about things in life.

You need to change your setting to have a better view.

Also, having a new environment surrounding you will give you a reset and even refreshment.

To know what kind of environment you want to be in, you must evaluate your goals and what kind of person you are.

Don’t you like an outgoing vibe? Find a quiet atmosphere.

Matching the environment that you will enter to your personality will be like a crab going back to its natural habitat.

It is up to you what environment you want to belong to. If you feel like you don’t belong in that atmosphere, you can always change to a new one.

That is why you don’t have to worry.

Ending the Crab in a Bucket Mentality

People have to choose to change.

Change is hard.

I get it.

I understand this, and I don’t like change either.

It takes work to change.

Find an accountability partner, get around successful people, and possibly find a new environment.

All of these will set you well on your way!

You may also want to check out some fixed mindset examples to be on the lookout for.

Good luck!


What is the meaning of crabs in a bucket?

People typically are talking about people around you trying to hold you back.

Why do crabs pull each other down?

Are we talking about crabs or ‘crabs’ (people)? Either way, there’s not a good reason for either. We should all be helping each other escape the bucket! But we sure like to stay comfortable and don’t like change.

What is the crabs in a bucket analogy?

It’s the idea that people are just like crabs. Crabs won’t let each other escape out of a bucket. People tend to do the same thing…

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Brooks Conkle

Brooks is an entrepreneur, father, husband, & follower of the golden rule. He has over 15 years of experience as an entrepreneur after graduating with a Finance degree from Auburn University. Addicted to starting new business projects, he believes in creating multiple income streams and a life of flexibility. Business should work around your life, not the other way around. He creates content on his website, sharing his projects to help other hustlers in marketing, personal finance, and online business.