One crab in a bucket without a lid will climb up the side of the bucket and escape. If there are two or more crabs in the bucket, there is no need for a lid.
You see, a single crab will see the opportunity of escape above and will climb upwards and succeed in reaching the top. You need to put a lid or cover on the top of the bucket to keep the single crab from getting out. If you have two or more crabs in the bucket, you need no lid. None of the crabs will be able to escape.
If one crab seeks to crawl out, the other crab or crabs will reach up and pull the climbing crab down. One crab in a bucket of two or more will never make it out of the bucket because the others will never allow it. Each crab has the ability to rise to a higher level, but is prevented from doing so by the others around him.
Some people are like crabs. They are crabby and just outright unhappy. Unhappy people make other people unhappy. It isn’t right. It isn’t fair. But it is reality. There are people we all encounter regularly in our daily walk who are genuinely unhappy.
Have you ever had a day where everything is going great? You are feeling good about yourself and what you are doing. Then someone, for no constructive reason at all, says or does something that changes your day on the dime. You were flying high, minding your own business, and suddenly you come crashing down.
Have you heard the story about the man who said, “The more I am around people, the more I enjoy being alone with my dog?” Or the woman who said, “I would really enjoy my job if I didn’t have to deal with people?” Our “mountain top” experiences involve dealing with other people. Our “walking the valley” experiences also involve dealing with other people.
Hurting people hurt people. Unhappy people produce unhappy people. It is the law of reproduction. Why? Because we reproduce who we are. There are givers in this world and there are takers. Unhappy people are takers. When they get close to you, their attitude rubs off on you, taking away your happiness and replacing it with their negative attitude. Their getting close to you takes from you.
Think of the most unhappy person that you know. Do you enjoy spending time with him or her? In many cases we have no choice but to interact with the person. If this person is outside the workplace or outside the family, there is hope to avoid the negative person.
Unhappy people are destructive. They are jealous of good things that are accomplished by others and rather than flap their wings and try to raise themselves up to the same level, they choose to throw stones and pull others down to their level.
There is a poem called “The Wrecker” that was written by J. Homer Allen. He wrote, “I stood on the streets of a busy town, watching men tearing a building down. With a Ho, Heave, Ho, and a lusty yell, they swung a beam, and a side wall fell. I asked the foreman of the crew, ‘Are these men as skilled as those you’d hire if you wanted to build?’ ‘Oh no,’ he said, ‘No, indeed; just common labor is all I need. I can tear down as much in a day or two as it takes skilled men a year to do.’ I wondered then as I went on my way, which of these roles have I tried to play? Have I traveled along life’s road with care–measuring each act with rule and square? Or am I of those who roam the town, content with the labor of tearing down?”
One crew of untrained laborers can tear down in a day or two what it took a trained crew a year to build. How quickly a year of building can be destroyed. Isn’t it easier to swing a sledgehammer at another than to write an uplifting note?
Are you a taker or a giver? Do you add value when you walk into the room? Do people walk over to greet you or do they turn and run the other way? Do people celebrate when you go on vacation? Some unhappy people will never change. Others would like to change but choose not to. Still others take action and change their attitude which in turn changes their world.
My challenge to you is first to not be an unhappy person. You choose how you see this world. You choose how you see others. There are countless things that you can’t control. One thing you can control is your mind and your thoughts. Change your mind and you change your world. You can change the way you treat other people. Don’t be a taker. Don’t be a crabby person who reaches up and pulls others down. Don’t live your days tearing down what others have built. Be a builder. Be the wind beneath others wings.
My second challenge to you is to not let the unhappy people that you come into contact with drag you back down into the bucket of negativity. No one can completely ignore those who take from us. If it doesn’t throw you off balance, try to help unhappy people change. If they choose not to, recognize that the choice is theirs, not yours. If you are able, limit your time with unhappy people. Don’t let them ruin your day or reduce your quality of life.
Just a thought...
Rick Kraft is a motivational speaker, a syndicated columnist, a published author, and an attorney. To submit comments, contributions, or ideas, e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org:email@example.com or write to P.O. Box 850, Roswell, New Mexico, 88202 - 0850.
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