Crabs in a Barrel

Here’s an uncomfortable truth: most people want you to fail. Ouch, right? I wish it weren’t this way, but it is.

This idea is often compared to what happens when you put crabs in a barrel. When you put crabs in a barrel, obviously they want to get out. So they’ll start trying to climb out of a barrel. But then as soon as one of the crab gets near the top and is about to escape, the other crabs will pull it back in.

Most people have this mentality too. They hate seeing others succeed at what they can’t. Now, don’t expect most people to go around admitting to this. Very few will. A lot of people won’t even admit it to themselves! But that doesn’t change the reality.

That’s why you need to be very selective on who you take advice from. Much of the time, your friends and family will give you terrible (if well-intentioned) advice, and it’s often rooted in their own insecurity. They’ll say things like “you’re in good enough shape as it is” or “you need to have more fun” or “that sounds too hard” or “why are you working so hard all the time” or “why don’t you take a break and come have a beer and pizza with me”. These types of things may seem innocuous, but the subtext is essentially “I don’t want you to be too much better than me because it makes me feel bad about myself”.

This type of behavior is most apparent in online trolls. Any time anybody tries to build or achieve anything, the anonymous online trolls will come out of the woodworks with criticism and spite. It’s because they’re jealous and they can’t stand seeing someone else do what they would never have the will to do themselves. The corollary to this is that successful people never troll others online. They know what it takes to build something and put yourself out there, and they won’t try to cut other people down doing the same. That’s why the only people who troll are losers, and they know it too. That’s an empty feeling.

Remember Iron Law #3: Do not take advice from anybody who has not accomplished (or is at least working toward) what you are trying to accomplish.

Let’s end this on a positive note. There absolutely are some people out there who wish you the best and want to see you succeed. When you find these people, hang on to them. Here’s to all trying to be one of those people ourselves.

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