Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Crab Mentality Does It Still Exist?

I often heard this term way back when I was growing up in the Philippines. My grandmother used to use the term "crab mentality" quite often. She was involved in the barter business, she would usually go to a small town in my place, bringing five to ten containers of cooked fish in exchange for one sack of rice for every container. Also, if my relatives from the US brought a bundle of clothes during their visit to the Philippines, she would usually manage to separate clothes in exchange for other items from other people. Before I didn't really understand why she keeps on using the term, "crab mentality", but as time goes by, I have realized what she meant by this word. Eventually, she stopped doing her business, not because she was very old but because she had said that there was a lot of competition. They pulled her down to the point where she didn't even want to try to go climb back up or fight back against her competitors.

Crab Mentality is used to describe a kind of selfish, short-sighted thinking which runs along the lines of “if I can't have it, neither can you.” This term is widely used among Filipinos, who use it specifically to refer to people who pull other people down, denigrating them rather than letting them get ahead or pursue their dreams. As a general rule, an accusation of having a crab mentality is a poor reflection of someone's personality.

This concept refers to an interesting phenomenon which occurs in buckets of live crabs. If one crab attempts to escape from the bucket, the other crabs will pull it back down, rather than allowing it to escape freely. Sometimes, the crabs seem almost malicious, waiting until the crab has almost escaped before yanking it back into the pot. All of the crabs are undoubtedly aware of the fact that their fate is probably not going to be very pleasurable, so people are led to wonder why they pull each other back into the bucket, instead of congratulating the clever escape artist.

The crab mentality is a reflection of the famous saying “we all like to see our friends get ahead, but not too far ahead.” Learning to recognize the crab mentality in yourself is a very good idea, especially if you work or live in a highly competitive environment.

In my point of view, having this kind of trait or attitude makes you look really awful and you will appear to be a jealous individual. If you want to succeed in your life do your best in helping yourself get what you want in life without hurting anyone else. If you study hard and/or work hard eventually you will reap what you sow.

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