The crabs in a bucket mentality and how it negatively affects relationships.

With regards to our approach on how we live life, there’s a belief that people fit into one of two categories.
Those who predominantly ‘do’ and those who predominantly ‘watch’.
Doers tend to be busy trying to achieve something ‘unique or different’, to what others around them are doing.
Watchers (while doing the normal or ordinary) are ‘usually’ the voyeurs, commenting on what others (usually the doers) are doing, among their trusted circle of friends and family or online, behind the security of their phones, pads, laptop screens or monitors.
That being said, when watchers become ‘aware’ of themselves, some will refrain from sharing their opinions about the doers, choosing to keep their thoughts and opinions to themselves, in an attempt to avoid looking like a salty hater.
In contrast, doers can be split into two camps.
The first are those who have resolved in themselves to being a lone ranger.
The other camp, being those who always try to encourage watchers to become doers, failing that, they look for other doers to network with.
They (the second camp) realise the TEAM acronym (Together Everyone Achieves More) is actually true, it’s (what I like to call) a ‘divine principle’.

The Term
Whether you have heard the term “Crabs in a bucket” or “Crabs in a barrel” it pretty much equates to the same thing and obviously, it must be a term originating from the fishing community.
When you put a number of crabs in a bucket, most of them try to escape its confines.
That attempt to escape, is usually done by stepping over and pulling down the other crabs in the bucket.
However, with all the crabs in the bucket doing the same thing, the emancipation attempts are futile, due to the crabs negatively working against each other.

Are there any exceptions?
I’m not sure if every single species of crab behaves in the exact same way.
An experienced fisherman or marine biologist, may be able to inform the rest of us, however, as far as I know, it’s the default behaviour of most crabs.

Pulling each other down

So how does that relate to humans and our relationships?
Looking in the bucket, there will be those who become tired and give up trying to escape, allowing others to climb all over them.
There will also be those who will aggressively do what they need to, to get to the top.
Finally there will be those, who will see others who have nearly escaped and do what they can to drag the legs of those crabs, pulling them down in the process.
All the crabs may display all the listed characteristics in various measure but they always end up with the same result…being stuck in the bucket/barrel.
The above characteristics can be identified in the negative aspects of human behaviour/nature, in both watchers and doers.
It creates the perception, that we are (to use another term relating to negative behaviour) in a dog eat dog world.

I was provoked to write this post due to watching some YouTube channels over the last weekend.
Yeshua left us with a reminder of cause and affect, by informing the listener, of His divine principle, that we reap what we sow.
Isaac Newton’s interpretation of that truth was that every single action, has an equal and opposite reaction.
Others interpret those truths as, what goes around, comes around and our actions have consequences.
I saw some disappointing information concerning some people who I’ve watched and admired for their achievements and their alleged negative use of funds/materials given to them, taking what doesn’t belong to them or a refusal to pay those who have assisted them with a service or product(s).
While I’ve always been an advocate and promoter of the two sides to a story, I was saddened to hear that the other side to their alleged stories, have highlighted some of them (the YouTubers) as demonstrating the crab in the barrel mentality.

I also question the mentality of some who have made it their mission to highlight the errors of others, setting themselves up as a combination of online private detectives, judges and jurors.
However, in the interest of balance, taking into account the difference between mistakes and bad choices, I also see that there is a need for people to share and inform others about the repeated negative actions of those who appear to be taking others for granted.
These “investigators” help to remind others that they are being watched and (if people listen to their conscience) they will police themselves and adhere to that other divine principle of treating others as they would want to be treated.

Just as the different species of crabs perform the same negative behaviour, the crab in a barrel mentality can also be found in all nationalities and ethnic groups.
Sadly, all communities exhibit that negative side of human behaviour in both males and females, whether they be Black, Brown, Cream or White.
It’s also a negative side of human nature (usually by self-deprecating individuals) to believe that the counter-productive ‘crab in a bucket’ mentality and behaviour, occurs mainly within their own communities.
The truth is, no one has the monopoly on that negative behaviour, it happens everywhere.

My experiences
I spoke about my departed friend in my previous post and how we had occasional disagreements.
We both agreed and understood that we needed to employ and work with others, for the progression of our businesses but we had differences of opinion on how that should be done.
I was always concerned (for him) as somehow, no matter how he declared that he made it very clear about his method of payment for wages etc.
There would occasionally be some confusion with one individual or another, resulting in him being negatively labelled as someone who didn’t pay correctly.
No matter how swamped Lois and I were in trying to juggle, work, parenting, family, religious church stuff and time for our relationship.
The fall-out which happened with Lucas made me very reluctant to also be in a situation to be negatively labelled.
I managed to create a structure within our first business to enable some to work with us on a commission and invoiced basis.
However, many were discouraged when they experienced how hard it was to generate viable sales within certain sectors.
I have always been very firm on not taking others for granted and refused to adopt a crab in the barrel mentality to get to where I wanted to go, preferring to push through the hardship as a working couple.

The often thorny issue of money
Money in itself is not a problem, it’s also not the root of all evil.
However, it’s the individuals ‘love of money’ above all else, which becomes the root of all evil and serious misunderstandings.
The wise understand that while it is important, money is a tool to be utilised intelligently, not a god to be worshipped.
A healthy balanced mentality is needed (concerning money) to avoid developing that crab in a bucket mentality.
We should spend and utilise it wisely, without becoming mean/selfish.
We should also share it with and help others (where we can) without giving into the gimme gimme gimme takers, who have no intentions of helping others, just taking for themselves.

Most of us in the 80% have debt in one shape or form, some allow the debt and perceived negative views of others, to drive them to serious emotional/mental illness and sadly some to the point of suicide.
Others look at debt as a part of life and continue to rack up the debt, knowing that the debt will be a thing of the past for them, when they eventually die.
The world systems have now become even more ruthless and uncaring (due to their view of money) and in some countries, there are laws to transfer debt from the individual to their loved ones, once they die.
The rest of us realise that it has become a part of life but strive to pay them, when we can and when we can’t, we don’t allow the overdue notices to stress us to serious illness or even the one-way extremes of suicide.

While I’m not advocating that we all become Robin Hood types, and actively go out to stuff over governments, large corporations and the 1-20%, who between them, could feed all the poor and eradicate world poverty. If they were not so greedy, selfish and lacking love, as most of them are.
I scratch my head and seriously wonder how those of us in the 80% go out of our way to rip off, con, steal and cheat our fellow 80%, who are trying to get by, get up and get out of difficult situations themselves.
Why adopt the crab in the bucket mentality against your fellow 80% who are in the same boat as you?
That’s just outright stupidity, it’s like taking a gun, trying to shoot others (in the same boat) in the foot, while shooting yourself in the foot and putting a whole in the boat…who does that?

More past experiences
Lucas used to repeatedly say to me that everyone is quick to highlight your mistakes, but until they step out and try to do something similar they will never understand.
He would also say when they do make a move, they will create their own mistakes and see it’s not as easy as they initially thought.

When we had our first business, it was set up as a limited company.
Due to everything I have said about asking for help, especially in the ‘Thankful post’, I was reluctant to ask anyone for any assistance, especially financially.
However, a mutual friend took it upon themselves to ask other friends (with some disposable cash) to consider investment.
They approached me, we spoke, I drew up some investor papers, which clearly stated 2 very important points.
1 The money was going into the company, not directly into our pockets.
2 They were investing on speculation, with hopefully additions on the ROI but that they should also be aware that nothing is 100% certain and if things go wrong they could possibly lose their investment.
Everything was clear and legally above board.
As hard as we tried, with all that we had to deal with, the business didn’t grow how we would have liked and after just over 14 years, we had to close it.
One investor held out for all of their initial investment, another investor understood the situation and told us to forget about paying them back.
Another investor, would pay us regular visits, probably to check that we weren’t living in a lap of luxury.
That individual was not saying that they would allow the investment to go down as, one of those things, at the same time, they were not saying no, to the repayments, which we paid out of our own pockets.
They have not received the full amount of their initial investment and they haven’t said it’s OK, to forget about it.
However, me being me, when finances are available, I will find a way to pay back the outstanding.

Speaking of outstanding, like I said, most of us have debts, we still have outstanding, which, once upon a time, would have caused me a great deal of stress, as I hated owing others.
However, as you get older, when you think that the calls and letters we receive are on behalf of the large corps, whose owners have all the luxuries in life, why should we let their administrative processes and procedures drive us to illness or suicide?
Nope, we are not going down like that, the few debts we have will eventually get paid when we have the ability to, until then, we have to prioritise and live.
That most definitely does not include adopting a crab in the bucket mentality against our fellow 80%.

The suspicious minds of some ex-pats and some members of the diaspora
I fully understand why many are suspicious of people they meet, we’ve all had the negative experiences of dealing with others who have the crab in the bucket mentality.
Even those who are guilty of adopting that mentality have the audacity to be wary of people but that’s because they know how dodgy they can be.

My daughter recently told me about a group she had interaction with and their suspicious questions they would ask each other, partially sharing info, not wanting anyone to steal any ideas etc.
A love of money and jealousy of those who have more, really does have a negative affect on the attitude and mindset of people.
When we should be sitting down openly and honestly to network, share ideas and get the best out of each other, we can’t, due to the negative crab in the barrel mentality of some.

A meeting host recently asked me about not being at any meetings, to which I honestly replied, telling him I will be there once I have certain projects up and running.
In the past I would optimistically go to those type of events, with plans.
I would try to encourage others and share my ideas.
Only to have others (who could help me, as I would help them) sit on resources or helpful information, run off and attempt to execute my ideas themselves.

Helping Hands

The solutions
If we want to see a change, we have to consistently be the change.
How we think (our mindset) has to constantly be re-examined, we cannot allow the negativity of others to pollute us and change us into negative sceptical individuals.
We have to remember the good others do for us and use the past negative situations, as teaching experiences only, not negative emotional weights to carry around, burdening ourselves.

For example, it’s been 11 months for me currently without a car, however, I went through a period of 12 years without having my own vehicle.
Due to my character and how well I drive, I was able to use the cars of others (if I needed to) in that 12-year period.
My mum, brother, a cousin, friends and even an ex neighbour loaned me their cars, in the knowledge that I would take good care of them and I did.
Being honest, polite and having a positive attitude helps.
I have recently met someone, who, in a couple of months of knowing me has offered to loan me one of his cars (for a fee of course) as and when I need it, until I get my own.
Another person (who I’ve known for an even shorter period) also offered to loan me her car to collect some DIY items.
Neither of them knew about my past help received concerning cars loaned and yet they both have correctly assessed that I would not be reckless, do robberies, sell drugs or do anything else illegal using their vehicles.
I could give you some negative examples of situations, which have happened with people (since being here) but I choose to highlight the positives in this post.

We are currently digital nomads, doing online work, however, where permitted, in whatever country we find ourselves in.
We hope to be able to be positive contributors to our local community, setting up physical businesses to help locals, obviously as well as ourselves.
Contributing not only to the local community but also to the country, more than we currently do.

Using discernment is important, we have to understand that the truth of the matter is, not everyone smiling and calling you brother or sister, has your best interest at heart, some only want to serve themselves.
I have decided to show such individuals, that it doesn’t have to be that way, being open and honest can help us come to a positive mutually beneficial working agreement.
Or, if not, we can part on amicable cordial terms, without anyone being ripped off or doing the ripping off.

If we have excessive resources, we should be quick to wisely share them (where applicable) in the hope of building up others, especially in the times we are living in.

Those who are indigenous to a correctly or incorrectly perceived, “financially poorer country” need to understand that those of us who move to that country, especially from the west, are usually not loaded and rolling in money.
I’m not wishing to purposely be insulting but you need to understand, if we had the money or resources you thought/think we have, many of us wouldn’t be living, in the areas around you or using your services.
Most would bring in labourers from elsewhere and look to live where your 1-20% live.
Bearing this in mind, locals with a crab in the bucket mentality need to stop looking at all the visitors (in this case the diaspora) as if they are an easy mark to be robbed or scammed, we are not here for that.
On the flip side of that coin, those who come to a country, with an intention to live, shouldn’t be bringing a criminal mindset or looking at the local residents as stupid or there to be scammed either.

Final words
We have to remember the divine principles mentioned earlier in this post and also that unity is strength.
Mutual love and respect should be reciprocated, that’s the only way to build the village and have strong, healthy and prosperous communities.
I know it’s possible, but we have to exercise our power of choice positively, in order for it to happen.
Some have been hurt so much, to the point that they are afraid to open up and trust again.
That will take time and building a relationship with the Master counsellor and healer, for your emancipation from negativity to occur.
We know that some of our children still need to learn this themselves.
They have to mature in their faith, character and mindset, to continue to be able to deal with their negative experiences in a positive manner.

I have determined not to allow others to change my positive views and focus, as I will definitely not be adopting the crab in the bucket mentality, at any point in my life or allowing it to negatively affect my relationships with people.

Thank you for reading.

Stay positive
Phil G
Watiwa Moto wa Yeshua
The G Man

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