EP 23 – Avoid the Crab bucket

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Maybe you have heard of the analogy of the bucket of crabs. This is where it is easy to keep crabs in a bucket because as one crab tries to crawl out the other crabs in the bucket grab him and drag him back in. This represents the people in your circle. These people are your friends and family members who have an invested emotional interest in keeping you safe.

There is that darn word again. Safe.

Why is being safe such a bad thing?

We work so hard on keeping others safe and in today’s standards safe isn’t keeping you away from bears or sabertoothed tigers. Being safe is staying comfortable. Yeah, it is nice to be comfortable from time to time but if you want to become the better person you want for your family and son, you have to step out of that lovely comfort zone and grow.

So how does the bucket of crabs fit in?

Well, your family members see you making progress and they become fearful for your comfort. That fear causes them to make certain comments and suggestions that are meant to hold you back. You may hear your favorite uncle suggest you not become a writer because you can’t make it as a writer.

In reality, he tried the very same thing when he was younger and he lost everything because he wasn’t able to find a publisher. He became very uncomfortable and tucked his dream of having a book published away, in sorts he gave up and decided that it was too much trouble. He doesn’t want to see you go through that discomfort nor does he want his failure to be brought to light. It could be out of fear that he quit too soon.

The Tall Poppy Syndrome

The Tall Poppy Syndrome is defined as this:

The tall poppy syndrome describes the cultural phenomenon of mocking people who think highly of themselves, “cutting down the tall poppy”. Common in Australia and New Zealand, it is seen by many as self-deprecating and by others as promoting modesty.

We often, as a society, also call out others who are doing what we would like to be. These people become the tall poppies. We make comments like

  • It must be nice…
  • He has more money than sense
  • He is lucky
  • He is privileged
  • Toxic masculinity

There are other terms that are very prevalent in today’s vernacular that show the tall poppy syndrome too. Like White privilege, or Happiness privilege, he is just out of touch. When we as a society condemn a person for being successful. These are times that tall poppy syndrome crops up.

Some examples of the Tall Poppy Syndrome by doing a quick twitter search.

Your son while in high school will be faced with this often. If he tries to be his own person, his classmates will call him out on his uniqueness. If he is working hard and saves up to buy his first car many people will call that out. Some may even dip down to try to actively cut that tall poppy short by damaging his prized possession.

Why do people hold us back?

Now I mentioned a few reasons earlier. But Let dive a bit deeper.


This word really needs to be reduced in our lexicon of words. As before the vast majority of times, our fear for another person’s safety is actually our fear for their discomfort. We don’t want to see our loved ones suffer and fail. So to keep them from failing we try to keep them safe.

This is our emotional brain talking. We can’t predict the future yet we see the very worst about what is going to happen. So we try to talk our loved ones out of dong something that is actually good for them.

It really is self-defeating. We have an emotional reaction to the dream or plans our son hs. Maybe your son wants to go into the Army. That will scare many parents and moms more specifically because there is a real element of danger in joining up with any military. So we try to talk our possible warrior out of the idea.

Yet we ignore all the good that would come out of the endeavor. He could learn how to be more disciplined and more intentional in his actions. He would build up his personal network for his later success. He could make it a career and travel the world. He would then get a dedicated paycheck for the rest of his life.

The perks of joining the military far outnumber the reasons to not join. Yet because there could be a conflict erupt and he is then asked to get into harm’s way, we try to talk him out of it. All because we want someone we love to not go through the discomfort that will make him great.

We have stopped letting our sons be dangerous those broken bones and scrapped knees all have teaching moments and yeah there can be an element of true danger in what they do, it is good for our sons to prove themselves.

They see themselves in your effort

Again this shows where we failed ourselves. Many times people cast judgment not because of what the other person is doing but because we see our own shortcomings. That right there can be very uncomfortable. Many of the opinions we cast when shaded in the light of emotion is because of this very fact. We see that we had the same energy and drive that our son has at the moment and we sadly feel as though we squandered it. I personally don’t like having my shortcoming thrown up in my face, and having my son do the thing I believe couldn’t be done, would be a constant reminder that I failed.

Scarcity mindset

This again is the bane of society. There is so much scarcity mindset running rampant throughout the world. So many people think that they can’t because they don’t have something when in all reality they do have what is needed they just can’t see the forest for the trees

How do you escape the bucket?

This is tough to do because you have to understand when emotions are playing a part in the advice. This is both when you are giving advice and receiving advice. there are few key points that you do want to focus on.

Your Why

Focus on why you are wanting to do what others are trying to talk you out of. This is the foundation of you climbing out of the bucket

Have the resolve to keep going

You may actually make people angry at you. If you keep going. If this happens you need to be resolute about your decision. They may come around later after you have succeeded but then again you have to understand why they are angry. You are showing them their shortcoming and they are afraid for your discomfort.

Filter the advice

Understand what is fact and what is opinion. Separate the two and weigh the validity of the facts. When you removed the opinions and emotionally based thoughts you can see the facts and make a better decision on what was said. Now people don’t like to have their emotional thoughts disregarded but again most of the time they do change once they see that you are not in constant suffering.


Now to have a person give you advice without the emotional opinions helps out tremendously. So having a mastermind does this very thing. The people in the group are invested in your success, not your comfort. So that can give you straighter advice that will show you the risks and the rewards of what you are wanting to try.

If you are looking for a mastermind The Conclave of Men could be the best fit for you.

You are doing the same

Pay attention to what you are telling your son. How does it feel to you? Do you feel a level of fear inside? Does that level increase if you were to tell him to go ahead.

You may also ask yourself why do you want to keep this person from trying the idea they have. Honestly filter out the emotions when thinking through the problem.

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About Bryan Goodwin

I like being able to help people find their "why" and achieve the personal freedom they desire. Besides writing for Relaxed Male I also am a life coach. By helping men find the leader that is found in each and every one of us. I do this by encouraging men to get outdoors and find the balance they are missing. Realize that they need to be in contact with the outside as often as they can. It is not only good for them but for their families and relationships.

1 Comment

  1. Bryan, super post here buddy. Crawl out of the bucket by limiting contact with people who try to pull you back in. Friends, fam, anybody. Ditto for tall poppy fools too because only scared, afraid folks who feel threatened try to pull anyone down. Bad energy with this crowd. Let them go.

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