Sunday, August 3, 2014

Crab Mentality and Paradigms

I am reading a great book called The Four Doors, by Richard Paul Evans. I am excerpting a very interesting passage from that book here to share:

From "The Four Doors" by Richard Paul Evans:
In scientific discovery, when paradigm becomes an obstacle to progress, it is referred to as paradigm paralysis: the inability or refusal to see beyond the current models of thinking.
The cage of paradigm refers to those expectations and limits that we, and those around us, use to define ourselves, our abilities, and our potential. These shackles of paradigm are stronger than you probably realize.
A popular term among Filipinos is "crab mentality". The phrase refers to the dynamic of a pot of crabs. Individually, the crabs could easily climb out of the pot, except that the other crabs will pull down any crab that tries to escape.
The analogy to the human condition is obvious. It is a common social phenomenon that members of a group will attempt to "pull down" any individual member who achieves success beyond the others. The mindset is "If I can't have it, neither can you." It is arguable that America is becoming a giant crab pot.
Instead of being inspired by others' success, small-minded people(and this represents a significant percentage of the population) resent others' achievements because they fear that they are being left behind.
I recently came across the story of a formerly obese woman who had, remarkably, lost more than three hundred pounds. She reported that the most difficult challenge to her lifestyle change was that her husband, who was also morbidly obese, worked to sabotage her effort to lose weight. Nearly every day he brought her chocolate and donuts, then acted hurt when she resisted his "gifts". When she accused him of attempting to wreck her diet, he staunchly denied it.
Only after she had lost the weight did her husband admit that he was afraid that once she was thin she would leave him.
"The worst part of success is trying to find someone who is happy for you." ~Bette Midler
My wife and I experienced the effects of crab mentality firsthand. With the success of my first book, The Christmas Box, our world changed in some negative ways that we did not expect. Friends stopped talking to us, family stopped visiting, false rumors were spread through our neighborhood about us. It was a difficult time, one that required a lot of forgiving.
When I told my father about what was happening to us, he wisely replied, "You have to understand that your success will always remind others of their failures."
No one is perfect or above reproach. "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." I certainly am not without sin, but, I want to strive to be a vessel for positive change and personal growth. I urge everyone to honor and applaud the successes of others, whether their version of success is multiple best-seller list books, or, raising their children to the best of their abilities. Do not be intimidated when someone is out there accomplishing something you yourself want to accomplish. Be inspired instead. Talk to them. Be pure and sincere, and ignore, or better yet avoid, the naysayers who are envious. Ask them if they have any advice for you. It's lonely at the top, even if the "top" is "only" someone who thinks outside the box in the process of raising their children, or the fastest runner in your age division at the local 5K races, or a young person who is clearly brighter than most adults you know. Maybe they would be very relieved to have a sympathetic ear, a genuine confidant, and in return their successes may well rub off on you. You might be surprised at how much  more you have to learn. I always loved the saying "A high tide raises all boats." It is the truth. Will you allow yourself to rise with the tide around you? Or will you be the crab crowding around with the other crabs in the bottom of the pot pulling down those among you who try to escape? The choice is yours.