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.
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.