This past weekend, we were with a group of people that knew us from the “old days”. And what I mean by “old days” are people that knew us before we were building our current business and had our current philosophies on life.
Several times during the weekend we got into discussions about business, the economy, and the future.
Yes, we have our definite opinions on all these subjects. Owning a small business and being heavily involved in the marketplace gives us certain insights that people in the “job” market simply don’t see.
Yet a funny thing happened as we expressed our views.
In one corner of the room, we noticed the “eye stare”. As we gave our opinions and talked about the way we view current situations, we would notice a handful of people look at each other with what we call the “eye stare” – when people look at each other with that knowing look that says “can you believe they are saying that out loud?”
In the other corner of the room were the people that were coming up with opposite opinions just so they could have something to say against what we had to say. “Yes but” and “This is also true” and other phrases like that were also flying at us left and right.
Honestly, we weren’t criticizing their choices or their way of life. We were just expressing our views.
So we started questioning the way we spoke to these people. What was causing this amount of stress in this situation?
And then we remembered the “crab mentality” story we heard many years ago.
Crab mentality is a way of thinking that says “if I can’t have it, neither can you”. If you put a bunch of crabs in a bucket together, they will hang together in the bucket until their demise. If one tries to escape, the others grab hold and pull, never letting them leave the bucket.
In many ways human behavior emulates crab mentality. If everyone in the group has the same thought process, as a group you can carry on conversations indefinitely about the subject matter. But if one person begins to stretch and has a different opinion – and expresses it out loud – the entire group is up for a lot of friction. They will fight you every step of the way. They will roll their eyes at you, make up excuses about why you’re wrong, even stretch as far as they can to prove why your ideas are way off base. They will do anything to bring you back down to their line of thinking, to keep you a part of the group.
But once you’ve “escaped” the bucket and start thinking in a new way, its all but impossible to go back into the bucket. Why would you want to? The bucket isn’t the place for you any more – you have new things to do and think about.
It’s hard. I know.
But it’s also okay. Realize you have grown beyond the needs of this group on this subject matter. It doesn’t mean you have to give up this group of family or friends for good. It just means you can’t express your views on this subject any more, and can’t go to this group for advice.
It’s time to move on. You have to find a new group to latch on to, learn from, take advice from, and grow with.
You have to find a new group that accepts your new reality. They believe in the things you are learning, and can provide mentorship and friendship along the way.
For every change you make, there are others that have been there too.
That’s how your ideas take flight. That’s how your dreams become a reality.
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