Daily Bread 10/1: Crabs in a Barrel

Every day it seems like our society adopts the “Crab Mentality”, or that of crabs in a barrel where the masses pull down anyone starting to make it out, starting to find success.

This mentality is particularly strong in poor, urban communities, like in Montgomery, Alabama where rapper Doe B was on the verge of making it out of his impoverished upbringing and bringing a real change to his life and that of his family, and likely his community eventually. Unfortunately, he was gunned down performing in his hometown, in a gig he surely didn’t need, but probably saw as a way of sticking to┬áhis roots.

This ode to the late Doe B by T.I., whose album Doe was meant to be featured on, perfectly sums up the “crabs in a barrel” mentality his first verse right off the bat:

Remembering where you come from is important. Loyalty is perhaps the most important trait to me in personal and business relationships, and I certainly don’t mean for this to be an indictment of such a quality. However, sometimes you have to realize that not everybody wants for you what you want for you.

Maybe they’re jealous they aren’t as successful as they want to be, as was the case for Doe B’s killer.

Maybe it’s something else. At the end of the day, their motivation really doesn’t matter. Keep the door open for them, but don’t slow down just because they won’t hop in.

If you think you have the next big idea, pursue it. Make the calls you need to make, build what you need to build, and do whatever it is you need to do to make it happen. If your friends and family want to help, all the better, open it up for them and by all means let them help, but if they don’t want in, don’t stop hustling. Don’t stop grinding.

Sometimes the cynicism is blatant. An old friend may tell you to give it up or only find reasons to criticize without any advice. Maybe they’ll tell you you’re wasting your time and you won’t ever make it.

More often though, it’s not nearly as toxic. The crab mentality is friendly in nature. They want you to come out all the time, or do this or that activity that does nothing to move you towards your goal. You have to stay focused on what you need to do. They may not be jealous at all, they’re just happy with their life the way it is and want you to enjoy it with them. They simply don’t understand the master plan or that you have so much greater ahead of you.

So many people want you to settle for what they settled for. In college the classic line is to get an internship, finish your degree, and get a job. There’s certainly nothing wrong with this. It beats sitting around just being a burden for sure. But if you are reading this, that probably isn’t good enough for you. Don’t let a normalcy bias set in where that is what is expected, what is normal, so it’s just what you do. It may be advantageous to take an internship and learn under the tutelage of other professionals, but don’t lose sight of the bigger picture.

Don’t be pulled to the side by what MJ DeMarco describes as ‘slowlaners’ or pulled back down by what he refers to as ‘sidewalks’. Remember your plan, your goals, and let nothing stand in the way of accomplishing them. That is how you can truly make a difference, not only for yourself, but for those around you. Those who were willing to work hard with you and make something happen.

As the saying goes, there’s three types of people in this world: those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who don’t even know what’s happening. Since you’re reading this I assume you want to be in the first group. Always be vigilant to stay there. Don’t worry about what others are doing and don’t let them bring you down. Stay focused on your goal and make it happen.

Below is a trailer for part 1 of the Atlas Shrugged trilogy that came out over the last five years. Sure the acting may not be great, especially in part 3, and the cast changes are confusing, but stay focused on the message. It’s something everyone trying to build something great can relate to. Daphne Taggert has to overcome her naysaying brother and destructive politicians to reach her goals. There’s no John Galt in our world though, no easy escape. You just have to keep working and get the job done, just like Daphne does.



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