How to Avoid “Black Crab” Syndrome, Part Last

How to Avoid “Black Crab” Syndrome, Part Last

The Revenge of the Crab

Last time…

We explored how often and easily we discover that the enemy of our forward motion towards “move-to goals”…is us. We get in our own way. Like cooks in the kitchen of our own lives, we whip up some self-induced crab-melt. Like the proverbial black-crab letting go of the lid, we chicken out.

Why is that?

Perhaps we believe someone’s assessment of us was—and still is—correct. Maybe we find the challenge too daunting. Often, we just lose faith.

It’s odd, though, isn’t it?

Back in the Day

Not too many generations ago, our forebears’ lives were defined by scarcity. The founders of the United States came here for the freedom it presented. For many, they sought the freedom to worship as they chose. For others, it was the freedom to seek out a new future in a new land where anything was possible. Out of their prior experience of scarcity, they eagerly challenged themselves to seek out and discover that promised abundance.

Living in the United States or any “1st world” country means being surrounded by abundance, not scarcity. The world has reversed.

Great Reversal

Is there still inequality in the 1st world? Sure. Most of the population of earth lives on less than $2 a day. So even those that live in scarcity in the 1st world are surrounded by an abundance others can’t imagine.

And here we find the answer to our own, self-inflicted, loss-of-faith-in-what-our-future-holds, scarcity versus abundance, black crab-meltdowns come from: lack of imagination.

We forget to see things as they are…elsewhere. Rather than gratitude for all we have, we focus on what we don’t. As a result, our vision gets clouded by thousands of daily, hyper-fast, multi-social media-delivered, scarcity messages that scream at us about our deprivation, about how much better life would be if we owned _________, lived in _________, drove _________, ate _________, looked like _________, etc.

And we believe it.

So our dreams are, for the most part, shriveled and pathetic. We subject them to definitions supported by the media. In other words, we enable them to be shriveled and pathetic, because others do the same. Our vision of the future is intoxicated by small things.

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.  Epicurus

In truth, our vision needs to be bigger than what we have entertained in the past. We’d be more motivated to reach for the heights when the result of reaching those heights positively impacts others more than it benefits us.

What if just one intrepid, defiant black crab can help pull a few others to an unimaginably abundant freedom, full of opportunity? Then those newly liberated can pull a few more over the lid of limitation.

Until the bucket is empty.

Engage here. Want more Black Crab Syndrome, go here.

photo credit: Rob Surreal via PhotoPin

Taming of the “Black Crab” Syndrome, Part 2

Taming of the “Black Crab” Syndrome, Part 2

A Crab Is A Crab

Last time…

We looked at the story of “black crabs” shared by Robert Kiyosaki in his book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad. The premise of the story is that after crabs are caught by “crabbers” patrolling the beach for a fine dinner, the crabs crawl all over each other in the bucket. Once in a while, an ambitious crab reaches over the lid, attempting to escape. But the other crabs pull the would-be escapee back down into the bucket.

The punch line, of course, is that we can learn a lot from this story when applied to the human condition. Let’s pursue the analogy.Black Crab Syndrome

What Did You Just Call Me?

You are the crab seeking to escape the bucket. Something drives you to reach for more out of life. You struggle with a strong sense, even compulsion, that beyond the confines of your current life-experience, there is a wide-world out there, full of opportunity and adventure. So, in your metaphorical bucket of black crabs, you twist, you turn, you stretch, you reach. And…you succeed! Firmly grasping the bucket’s lid, you hoist yourself up and up, moments from setting yourself free to encounter life in a brand new, exciting way.

And then one of the crabs nearby hauls you back down into the bucket. Your dreams are dashed because of a dream-deprived loser, suffering from negativity and fear.

Don’t get me wrong. There is a tremendous amount of insight in this notion that it is important for us to be mindful–even vigilant–about who we interact with. We can’t assume that others will support our dreams and our efforts to reach them. It is possible that they will even, intentionally or otherwise, get in our way. It is a very real question: am I allowing others to hold me back?

But as this sculpture by Ed Massey shows so baldly, this “black crab syndrome” works both ways.

Reflect for a moment on whether you might be the black crab to someone in your sphere of influence. In your efforts to move ahead toward a new adventure or an invigorating future, are you doing so in a way that enhances other’s similar efforts…or hinders them? Does it make any difference to your own success?

Share a time when you were hauled back by a “black crab” in your life and how your dealt with it. Or a time when you may have been the “black crab” to someone else.

Next time: we have met the enemy, and he is us.

[NOTE: The statue is the work of Ed Massey, at]

What’s your story? Have you played both crab roles? Willing to share? Engage here.

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