Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Crabs in a Basket

  • Have you ever noticed that the critics don't criticize the people 'beneath' them?
  • Have you ever noticed anyone trying to knock someone UP onto a pedestal?
  • Do you ever hear anyone saying 'it's crowded at the top'?

I must confess that there were times in my life that I did everything to avoid criticism. I guess you could call me a people-pleaser. I mean, who really wants someone to be upset with them, right?

But our society is all about levels and some people believe that if someone is above them they should try to knock them down. There is another alternative... they could strive to rise up and join them.

I once heard a story that is said to be an old African adage. It goes something like this...

Do you know how to keep a crab in a basket without putting the lid on?

It's simple... put 2 or more crabs in the basket. Once one starts to climb above the other, the lower crab will reach up and pull the rising crab back down.

Now, you don't see crabs displaying this behavior when they are on the beach on the open sand. They only exhibit this behavior when they see one rising above the other. I read an article at AuthorsDen.com in which some people said that it isn't the CRAB'S fault - it's the BASKET'S fault. If the basket had been a flat, unimposing structure, the crabs would never try to defeat each other. One even went on to say, “Keep looking to the top of the basket in order to get out or better yet, we shouldn’t even get into the same basket in the first place.”

Ok, that's an interesting approach. As an athlete, I loved to get into a basket where the players were better than me. I believed that they could help me get better. It appears, however, that some folks see the challenge of multiple crabs in a basket as an unnecessary evil. I mean, wouldn't it be nice if we could all isolate ourselves in our own little baskets. (I think not.) I guess it's a lot easier not to try than to try and fail... that it's a lot easier to stay out of the crowded basket than to realize that someone may have worked longer, harder and smarter to get to the top before you.

So, I have a few questions for you...

  • Do you ever find yourself being a crab at the bottom of the basket?
  • Do you ever root for someone's failure whom you may think is 'above' you in the basket?
  • Does your mind tell you that if someone is at the top, they must've cheated to get there?
  • Do your thoughts tell you that those at the top of the basket are probably miserable and alone?
  • Do you ever blame circumstances for your location in the basket?
  • Do you find that you avoid attempts to climb out of the basket to avoid the criticism of others?

All of those thoughts are very dangerous and will keep you from RISING above.

Let me ask you a question: what's the best way to cross a minefield?

The answer: follow in the footsteps of someone who has already done it. I say that NOT to discourage you from finding your own way. Instead, I say that to encourage you to embrace those who have gone before you, those who have risen to where you want to be. As you follow in their footsteps you will soon develop your own confidence... the confidence you need to then chart your own course and rise above the criticism of the crabs below.

Don't let your thoughts fall to the bottom of the basket. Rise up and choose to think thoughts that support your success. We have enough negativity in this world and it seems very easy for our minds to go there.

Today, choose to look at those crabs in the basket above you and encourage them to show you the path to the top. Instead of being threatened by their success, you will become a part of it.

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