Recently I have heard two different people on two separate podcasts talk about a problem that crabs have. I do not remember which podcasts these were because I was driving and I didn’t expect them to both discuss this topic nor did I expect it to resonate with me the way that it has. The basic premise goes like the following.
When crabs are caught they are in traps. There are often many many crabs in one trap and they are all scrambling to get out. Eventually one crab finally seems to have figured out how to get out and is just on the brink of climbing over the trap and then the other crabs pull it back down to the group still stuck at the bottom of the trap. This happens over and over again. It is so common and such a law of nature that the fishermen do not even attempt to put a lid on the traps because they know the crabs will not escape the group.
This strikes me because I think this is how so many people in our society are. If I am being honest then I must admit that there have been situations in the past where someone was about to succeed or they were doing great things and I would secretly want them to fail. I don’t think it is in my own nature to want people to fail. I think that over time I saw person after person doing amazing stuff and I was secretly jealous of them. I think this person’s success was a reminder of all the dreams I wasn’t moving forward and I was ashamed.
Shame does a funny thing to us. It makes us feel insecure, inadequate, and it puts us on the defensive. When we go on the defensive we no longer are in charge of our own path. Our path instead gets defined by reacting to those things around us. Dr. Brené Brown has done some fabulous research, writing, and speaking about the topics of shame, vulnerability, and living a Wholehearted life. I highly recommend that everyone read her book Daring Greatly. Dr. Brown basically tells us that to overcome our shame and fear we need to expose it. We need to be vulnerable and talk about those things.
We need to believe that we can effect change if we want to live and love with our whole hearts.
— Dr. Brené Brown
I decided a few months ago that I was going to go about intentionally changing some things in my life. I wanted to become a better, more authentic version of myself and live from a place of gratitude, joy, and worthiness. This has meant being intentional about many things in my life. Each of these things is small but collectively they give me focus, energy, perspective, and work to change my thinking.
These changes include:
- Waking up very early in the morning.
- Reading every morning.
- Listening to certain podcasts that give me ideas and fresh perspective while I get ready in the morning.
- Eating the same meal every morning so I don’t have to plan my breakfast.
- Taking stock of what I love to do and what I don’t like doing throughout my day.
- Being intentional about connecting with people.
- Writing in my journal at least four times per week.
- Reminding myself every morning that I get to choose my attitude each day and in each situation.
- I quit watching tv. (This was easy because I wanted to read so much and it’s summer so there’s nothing on. I suspect I will need to make rules about this when the new tv season starts up again but we’ll see. I haven’t missed it yet.)
After a few months of doing these things that seemingly have nothing to do with changing how I view others or other people’s successes I feel like a completely different person. I hear about things people are doing and I am excited for them…not jealous…not ashamed I haven’t done more. I am looking for opportunities to help people and connect with others more. I am passionate about finding ways I can contribute to the world, to certain niches, and to other people’s dreams.
Hearing the story of crabs brought me a deep sense of gratitude. It reminded me that we have an amazing ability to effect change in our lives and it’s really not even that difficult. We simply need to be aware of what is going on inside of us, start to take some kind of action to make small changes in our life, and each day try to make small progress toward the goal of changing.
How have small changes in your life have made a big impact on you and others around you?