The Crab Mentality: Why Can’t We Be Happy for Other People’s Success?

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When you put a bunch of live crabs in a bucket, you can witness quite an interesting phenomenon. Some of these crabs can easily escape — but as they attempt to climb out of the bucket, other crabs pull them back down. At first glance, this can seem like cruel and senseless behaviour: rather than let any crab survive or work together to escape, the crabs opt for a collective demise. However, crabs may act in this way just because they’re pulling on anything they can pull on when they’re out of water, including other crabs. There may not be any selfish motivations involved. Nonetheless, the way in which crabs behave in a bucket has become an analogy for the self-centred and jealous mindset of many people. This is known as the ‘crab mentality’.

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Originally published at on July 10, 2018.

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