Friday, October 2, 2009

Crabs, Haters and Vampires

This is the true story of my budding entrepreneur ah-ha moment that took place in Charleston, South Carolina.

After my freshman year in college, I decided to do something big and kinda gutsy (according to my family and friends). I went and sold encyclopedias door to door in South Carolina.

One of the meeting places for our ambitious group was in Charleston. These meetings made for a long day when we drove from our “territory” in Anderson to Charleston and back. During a break, we were allowed to the coastline and take in the scenery and watch people fish for crabs off the rocks.

One fisherman had one of those white five gallon paint buckets sitting next to him. I was curious so I looked to see what was inside it.

What I saw was a bunch of live crabs at the bottom crawling on top of each other. One crab seemed very ambitious. He climbed on top of all the other crabs and then reached his leg for the lip of the bucket. Once he hooked his leg on that bucket lip he began to pull himself up - clearly he was trying to make a break for it.

I let the fisherman know that he was about to be one crab less if he didn't put a lid on that bucket and he just chuckled and said; "watch what happens next."

Now what happened next was literally an epiphany for me. Right there I had my big ah-ha moment.

As this ambitious crab was hoisting himself up to make a run for freedom, several other crabs from the bottom methodically reached up, grabbed its remaining legs and pull him back down to the bottom.

Then the fisherman turned to me and said that crabs by nature self police each other and so a lid is never required on the bucket.

To me it wasn't "self policing" - it was "forced suppression."

Doesn't this epitomize human behavior?

Think about that. We're all surrounded by 'crabs' 'haters' and "vampires" who suck up your precious time and try to squash your ambitions, motivation, passion and enthusiasm.

Sometimes these crabs are those closest to you…or they could be people that you occasionally hang out with or people you work with, or even your significant other.

Fear is their greatest motivator. Fear of losing you. Fear of change. Fear of being left behind.

They conceal their fears as genuine concern for you. They always have a reason to burst your bubble, to instill doubt inside you and get you to second guess yourself. You know who these people are in your life. You can feel the bad vibes coming off them after just a few minutes of being in the same room as them.

They're creativity killers. They're time and energy vampires. They're your mojo killer.

Sound familiar? After that summer in South Carolina, I came home and literally took a survey of everyone in my life. Then I cut out everyone who was poisonous to me. I cut out some friends I knew from high school. I knew why others cut out some business partners. And I even know people who seriously limited exposure to certain family members who (unfortunately) can't be cut out permanently because - well, they're family.

Maybe it's even you… who is your own crab, hater or vampire?

Think how you talk to yourself and others around you. We all live in our own realities; it’s up to us to create the world we want to experience.

If there was ever a single thing you needed to know. It would be to have the ability to identify the crabs in your life - the people, the thoughts and the ideas that hold you back from achieving your personal goals.

Next, GET OUT and stay away from them- for your own sake. Instead, surround yourself with positive, supportive and energetic people who will help you grow.

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