You gotta get outta the pot!

Be careful who you allow to influence your thinking and actions!

In the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki tells the story of the Hawaiian Black Crabs.  If you go down to the beach early in the morning you can easily find black crabs.  You just toss them in your bucket and continue walking on the beach.  Now those crabs start thinking, “We’re bumping around in this little bucket making a lot of noise but going nowhere.” 

Eventually, one crab looks up and thinks, “There’s a whole new world up there.  If I could just get my foot up over the edge, I could get out, get my freedom and explore the world in my own way.”  So he stretches up, pushes a little, and sure enough, gets one foot over the edge.  But just as he is about to tip the balance and go over the edge — a crab from the bottom of the bucket reaches up and pulls him back down.  Instead of encouraging him and seeing how they could help each other get to freedom one by one, they pull anyone attempting back down into that confining bucket where nothing but a boiling pot of water is waiting for them.  Nobody in that bucket is going to end up a winner.

Unfortunately, that’s not an uncommon picture of the world in which we live and work.  Many of us live around a bunch of Black Crabs, ready to ridicule any new idea we have and just as eager to pull us back down to their level of performance.  Small thinkers find it much easier to tell you why something won’t work than to help you find a solution.  People who feel trapped and are struggling at a low level of success are seldom the ones who will cheer you on to a new endeavor.  Prejudice and bigotry are rooted in the same mentality – people who somehow feel better about their own miserable existence by pulling others down. 

I have found that one of the key characteristics of successful people is that they hang around people who are already performing at the level at which they want to perform. 

In Killers of the Dream, Lillian Smith wrote, “We in America – and men across the earth – have trapped ourselves with that word equality, which is inapplicable to the genus man.  I wish we would forget it.  Stop its use in our country:  Let the communists have it. It isn’t fit for men who fling their dreams across the skies.  It is fit only for a leveling down of mankind.”

There will always be naysayers and whiners; avoid them.  Avoid the Black Crabs around you.  Find winners and spend time with them!  Even the Bible warns us:  Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul. Proverbs 22:24-25

Who are the Black Crabs in your life?  How can you avoid them or move on?

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16 Responses to “You gotta get outta the pot!”

  1. cynthia Says:

    I have met and still working with lethal black crabs. The only way I avoid these crabs is by believing in my own talents and abilities. And my Faith in the Lord. Naysayers abound specially when they feel threatened and most of the time insecure with their own capabilities.

    I am working towards ” No More Mondays”. Really looking forward to that day. Thank you Dan for your ministry.

  2. Onetia Cutts Says:

    Great Article, I always heard the story of crabs, never this way.
    They alway show up when I start a new venture.

  3. Jason Garey Says:

    Hi Dan. Glad you expanded on this story. Hmmmm, didn’t I post a blog on 48day.NET about this very recently. Neat that your blog reaches so many others who can use your encouraging words. God bless. Jason

  4. Roy Simmons Says:

    Actually, this is why I hang around on 48 Some people might think Hey why is this English guy here so much? Well I have realised that I have had my thinking ‘constrained’ by my past and environment. It’s only since the advent of ‘web 2.0’ and broadband that I have had access to other ways of thinking. It’s hard to explain, it is a subtle thing. You work for a living, if you can’t you get the ‘dole’ owning a businesses is for other people who are somehow born with that ability. Dammit I am sick of settling for something! I have always wanted to be an Artist, now (as I may have said too many times!) I have a direction and a purpose. I have actually had people say to me that I am wasting my time, even people I love have been ‘black crabs’ at times. I am not angry, just glad I can visit here, and listen to lots of podcasts on the subject of online biz (especially yours Dan!) Let me share how I listen to Dan Miller’s podcast (which I highly recommend) On Sunday afternoons I always take my Daughter, who has learning difficulties, to the park. I listen on my ipod, She feeds the ducks, we walk. She is never a black crab and is my inspiration.
    Good post Dan sorry if I seem rather emotional but it did make me aware of where and how I had been ‘stuck’

  5. Theresa Says:

    Love the quote from Lillian Smith, Dan.

    Roy- Your comment touched me. My husband is an artist….he takes weekly classes. I encourage you to pursue it on whatever level you can right now. I’m seeing with my hubby that fostering his creativity (through painting) has been an overlooked NEED for many years. And btw- I LOVE England; it’s delightful to have a Brit on board. 🙂

  6. Rob Says:

    Ha. I married a black crab!

    Actually, she’d probably agree with me, but no, there are no real solutions when the mere suggestion of “earning money” has been strongly associated with “stupid, crappy job.”

  7. Michael Says:

    My father has been just one of my ‘black crabs’ in my 53 years. I wished I had realized it 30 years ago, but I can’t look back. I know with Dan’s help and my initiative, I will succeed.

  8. Fred Says:

    Any Advice on Resources for those wanting to be involved with Winner’s?
    Especially those of military backgrounds.
    As a single person, I find it challenging to link up, connect with or be involved with others of like interests from a winning stand point.

    Over the last 5 – 7 years I have purposely pull back from the social life because of the ongoing negativity of others. Since then I have focused on reading books such as Get Motivated by T. Lowe, Your Best life Now by Joel Osteen and several others. Which is helping to re-focus my priorities and simplify my life as a whole.

    It would be nice to get connected in my community, however, todate I have not had much luck in doing so.

    Finally, I can relate to the Crab Story. However, I learned a serious lesson on getting caught up in the world of negativity from those who you associate with. It cost me precious time and possible opportunities.

  9. You Gotta Get Outta The Pot! « N2ition0709's Blog Says:

    […] […]

  10. Rene Bellis Says:

    I feel strongly that we all have those black crabs in our lives. Sometimes we can avoid them, but other times we can’t, like when they’re a family member. In my family my sister is the biggest black crab of the bunch. She’s the most negative person I’ve ever known. Instead of uplifting, I feel downtrodden almost every time I talk to her. If you say, “what a pretty day it is” she’d say, “yeah, but it’s going to rain later.” So what! I will enjoy the day instead of thinking about the rain later. I think this behavior comes from years of just not trusting anyone and of being hurt too many times.

    It’s so important to surround yourself with positive energy; friends, sunlight, art, good music, happy thoughts (chocolate!) and smiles. Lose yourself in an activity you enjoy. For me it’s my art. When I’m creating I feel energized and complete. I love doing mosaics, painting on glass, sewing, blog writing, photography and scrapbooking when I find the time between other activities. It truly is therapy!

  11. kindnessactivist Says:

    Your blog post couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I waited a few days before commenting to try to diffuse my frustration and instead add a little speck of humor. How’s this (think redneck jokes): You’re know you’re a Black Crab if you jump to conclusions without doing a little digging (pun) and asking STRAIGHTforward questions. (Doesn’t the old Smothers Brothers tune go,”crabs walk sideways”?)

    I won’t say who it was but at least 3 on the forum have decided not to do business with me because I’m not earning any income right now. The words one used were “fraud” and “Nigerian scam”. Very insulting. I’m neither, and the Toronto Police with whom I worked as a member of the community police liaison committee will vouch for my efforts to fight crime in my community. Had any of these men asked for an explanation of my low income I would have explained that my assistance put a dangerous man in prison and resulted in my having to go into hiding for 7 years to avoid harm while having to deal with community harassment and bullying for those years and more.

    The reason that I’m not earning income is that nobody will hire a woman who risked her life to keep her neighborhood safe. (Is it an envy thing?) So by not hiring me for (ahem) my brilliant marketing advice, these men are simply perpetuating an innocent person’s – that would be me – poverty. How intelligent is that? It seems to me that it’s smarter to hire a person who has proved herself to be quick-thinking and courageous than someone who didn’t have the “ovaries” to do the right thing.

    At first I was excited to help each of these men reach new heights in their income levels, but then I had to ask myself: would I really want to invest my time and advice enhancing the careers of Black Crabs who make hasty judgments about a woman’s character? No way. What else would they be negative about?

    I can’t change the way these people think and it’s futile to try. There are so many others who actually use their brains and I’d rather work with them.

  12. Drew Says:

    The black crabs analogy is a good one. I do believe that it is important to surround myself with possitive people who see the strength and desire within myself to change my life so I can find the Work I Love.
    Recently, I quit a good job to persue my passions. I worried for a long time about what people would say, but surprisingly I have had a lot of support from family and friends.
    Do try to avoid the negative black crabs and don’t let them pull you down. But you may be surprised of the support you will get from others who truly wish they had the guts to do the same.

  13. admin Says:

    great analogy. so true.

    BTW, Just got the audio book “no more mondays”… $9.99 on itunes…. so far I like it. price is great.

  14. Tim Ramsay Says:

    Ho! I just realized something! I am successful. I forgot! …must have been the Black Crabs I eat for breakfast.

  15. Pam Utton Says:

    Good article – There are so many black crabs! Seems like the happier you are and the more successful you are the less people you have around you.
    My husband and I are doers and for some reason it is hard to find people that like us. Some would rather find misery as company. I consider myself a happy crab! I like to inspire others – praise them and help them whenever I can. But, the happier I get – sometimes makes those black crabs pull even harder. But, lucky for me I can pull away!
    Thanks for Sharing Roy – you alway know what to say. : )

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    apple ipad future…

    Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon….

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