Crab syndrome comes from the story of catching crabs in a bucket. When you catch a single crab and place him in a bucket, the first thing he’ll do is try to escape. Now, if you put two crabs in the bucket as soon as one tries to climb up out of the bucket the other will grab the escaping crab by the legs and try to escape itself, to which the process gets repeated to the point where no crabs end up escaping. The ‘crab in a barrel’ mentality refers to people in your owncommunity who limit support in an attempt to protect or improve their own situation and prevent others from getting ahead or achieving success.

Who must I show to bust my flow?
Where must I go? Who must I know?
Or am I just another crab in the bucket?
‘Cause I ain’t havin’ no luck with this little rabbit’s foot, f**k it – Eminem, 8 Mile

Do you know some people who just can’t celebrate when someone else is doing a good thing? People who don’t want to see anyone else be celebrated for their good deeds, or even for just looking good?

There are always going to be haters.

And musicians aren’t the only ones that feel like they’re getting dragged down by their friends, family, or peers.
It happens to just about anyone that steps out to create something new. In fear that you might out shine them this small minded mentality always try’s to “keep you in check” and belittle your dream. They want you to stay where you are so they can feel good about themselves.

In order for a musician to expose their music to as many people as possible, several “Gates” must be opened for them. In the commercial marketplace for music, Gatekeepers control the access to the musician’s potential audience. The music industry is one of the largest creative industries in the world, combing different elements of the business to produce and sell music to its audience. From the musician point of view it was crucial to get a record deal with the major label. Without that financial support it was nearly impossible to have a breakthrough and earn decent living from the music made. People behind labels created funnels as they decided what music is good enough to be let through and heard by the masses. In the era of streaming and the new roles of artists as they are now in the position to take action and in control of their success. The gatekeepers created the crab mentality in music. They made us feel it was me or the other artists fighting for the single spot.

The role of gatekeepers have shifted from the hands of major record labels to the hands of people. They are the ones creating new funnels between new music released and the audience. They decide what is cool and what deserves to be seen and heard. The music market has levelled out but more work needs to be done. For every artist to have an equal chance it must be promoted that there is enough to go around.

It’s like diamonds, they are purely an advertising hype to generate feverish demand for limited supplies so that dealers can sell them at premium prices? Within the music industry artists find themselves pitched against other artists, this develops a them vs me mentality. This mentality fosters the crab mentality.

Just like putting crabs in a bucket, as you try to escape and climb out of the situation your in, the others pull you back down. No ones gets to escape! People are encouraged to represent where there from, when we should be representing where we are going. On the one hand, it looks like they’re being loyal. As if someone is saying, “we got your back, we’re all in this together!” But the term “crabs in a bucket” is generally used to describe a situation where others actively hinder you from the progress you’re trying to make. “Stop dreaming,” they say. “You’re never going to make it.”

So, instead of supporting you and your music, they try to keep you in check. “Be real,” they say. Sometimes they do this because they feel you are

page3image23766880outgrowing them if you continue pursuing your dreams, you’re not going to be in their life as much as you used to be. The truth is even though they could choose to grow with you, sadly, most won’t. They don’t like confronting their narrow comfort zone.

If you don’t protect your dream, you will get dragged back in the bucket along with everyone else, relatively quickly.

The moment you begin pursuing your dream is the moment you’re most vulnerable to the crabs in the bucket. No matter what you pursue in life, you will encounter challenges on the road to fulfilment. Pursuing your passion doesn’t mean you aren’t going to be confronted with obstacles. We all face those moments where you will be tempted to compromise your values!
It’s through these experiences that you will begin to understand yourself and grow.

There’s a lot of negativity, especially online. And you’re either going to shut it out, or actively be swept away in a wave of negative energy. Sometimes you have to cut off negative connections, relationships and friends.

Do something every day to move in the direction of your dreams. It doesn’t matter if it’s small. Just do something! This builds your self-confidence and belief. If you’re serious about becoming an artist or musician, you’ve got to make it real. And the only way to make it real is by being active. Small daily progressive acts build up. It’s like a snowball gaining momentum down the side of a mountain. It might be small at first, but in time, it can grow into an entire avalanche of momentum! Continue to limit the time you spend around negative people. The reality is that if you stay on the growth path, your mindset will shift. Suddenly, the negativity will seem like a backward step compared to the challenges your facing. Whatever you feed will become stronger, starve the negative and feed your mind the positive.

When you do your thing, remember you will have haters, but never let people get you off track. Sometimes even family members can hate on you and try to derail your efforts and destroy your spirit. But no matter what obstacles come against you, you can make it if you treat people right, stay focused on your goal and stay true to yourself.

Basil Reynolds

Coaching Consultant

Finding the Music Inside