If you’ve ever felt like other people are holding you back – either from financial independence or goals in general – you might be surprised that you’re not the first person to feel this way. In fact, this is so common it has a name – crab mentality – and it might be pulling you down more than you realize.
Not to worry, if you do feel like you’re trying to rise above to no avail, I have a list of 6 tips to break free.
What Is Crab Mentality?
Crab mentality refers to when your friends and family hold you back – consciously or unconsciously. It comes from the concept that when a group of crabs is trapped in a bucket and one tries to escape, the other crabs will pull it back inside.
Are Your Friends Holding You Back?
So crab mentality is when the people in your life hold you back from going for your goals. But it’s not always malicious. It could very well be well-intentioned or even unintentional.
Intentional Crab Mentality.
This one is insidious, and I hope that you don’t fall in this category. Sometimes people’s friends and family just hold them back on purpose.
It could be because they don’t want you to succeed, or it could be because they don’t want you to fail – so much so, that they won’t let you even try. Most of the time it’s the latter so you could call it well-intentioned, but either way – don’t let it hold you back.
Unintentional Crab Mentality.
Most likely, your friends and family think they have your best interests at heart but are in fact enabling your own self-sabotage with some version of “YOLO” like:
- Geez, you can come out for one night, it’s not going to kill you.
- Just live a little, you can work on your stuff tomorrow.
- Come on, do it for me.
- That’s it. I’m picking you up.
You see where this is going. I get it, because I’ve definitely let myself get peer pressured to go out partying when I should have been studying back in university, and I’ve probably peer-pressured my own friends to act against their better judgment too.
In fact, my wife and I occasionally get addicted to TV shows, and egg each other on to watch “just one more” episode.
That’s why we can’t have Netflix. Crab mentality goes deep I guess.
How Crab Mentality Hurts Your Financial Independence.
Crab mentality can hold you back in so many areas of your life:
- Getting in shape
- Learning or upgrading your skills
- Creating healthier habits
- Starting a business
I don’t want you getting held back in any of those. But what I really want you to focus on is your money.
Growing your wealth takes planning and action. Don’t skimp out on either of those. Here are some ways that you can let yourself get held back when it comes to your money:
- Spending too much. If you want to grow your wealth, you have to learn to save. Period. If you’re letting yourself get talked into going out every night, or spending too much in general, you’re definitely holding your financial independence back.
- Not earning more. In most cases, earning more money starts with upgrading your skills and getting a better job. If you’re not dedicating the time or investing the money to do those things, you’re holding yourself back.
- Being scared of investing. This one hits close to home. Everyone can tell you a horror story about someone’s investment portfolio. Nevermind whether it’s even true or not. When you hear of all the bad things that can happen, it’s easy to throw in the towel before you even start. DON’T FALL FOR IT. Start small, learn as you go, and you’ll be fine.
How To Overcome Crab Mentality.
If you feel like people are pulling you down, here’s how to rise above.
1. Don’t advertise your goals just yet.
You don’t have to tell everyone about all your goals and dreams. If you feel like you won’t be supported or understood in what you’re trying to do, just keep it to yourself! It’s better than wasting energy defending what you know is best for you to a bunch of people who have no skin in the game.
Actually, I’m fully committed to stealth wealth. I’ve written about why extreme stealth wealth is the way to go, my guide for jumping into it, and I was even interviewed by Forbes on the topic. Yep. I’m committed to stealth wealth, and let me tell you – no one’s holding me back over it.
2. Get Hella motivated.
When you’re super motivated to reach your goals, crab mentality can’t stop you. Literally frame every decision you make as “will this help me reach my goals?” and it’ll be so much easier to say hell no when someone tries to hold you back.
And yes, you can do it with money. I literally ask “how does this compare to my dream?” before every purchase and there have been so many times I’ve walked away from wasting my money.
(That’s why I’m the super-motivated LeBron of FIRE.)
3. Create bulletproof habits.
Motivation is nothing without habits and vice versa. Start building routines and habits that support your goals. That way, if you ever give yourself a day off, it’ll be easier to jump back on.
4. Have a good “out”.
If you feel that your friends and family always thwart your plans to reach your goals, be prepared! Have a good “out” for why you can’t go along with what they’re asking. Make one in advance.
For example, my wife and I have a good excuse for why we don’t go out for dinners that don’t make us look like total cheapos (which we totally are) and it actually earns some major respect.
5. Don’t play victim.
Be honest with yourself. Is it your friends and family who are holding you back, or is it you?
Sometimes it’s just so easy to blame other people that we absolve ourselves of even trying. It may be true that someone out there has pulled you down at one time or another, but are you the one making a pattern out of it?
There’s a good chance that where you are has little to do with other people.
6. Don’t be a crab to others.
And lastly, break the crab mentality cycle. If you see someone is trying to achieve something, help them rise up and don’t pull them down.