“Used to describe a person (or subculture) that does everything in its power to destroy the ambitions of those among them who wish to improve themselves.” urbandictionary.com/
Fishermen know this principle: If you put one crab in a bucket, he’ll do everything he can to escape. But if you put two crabs in the same bucket, they’ll do everything they can to keep the other one from escaping, and, most often, neither will be successful in the process. I remember hearing this principle about 30 years ago and I have to say that I’ve experienced it in my own life several times since and have found it to be true.
This might be a general statement, but I believe creatives are very susceptible to this principle. We creatives already tend to have feelings of inadequacy, and peer group pressure can damage us if we allow it. Are you part of a critique group or an art association? Do you feel that it has advanced your career, or has your peer group been more harmful than good? If success in your career is your focus, it is extremely important to take the time to evaluate your influences. I’ve been in situations with small groups – both in corporate settings as well as in groups of artists – where I was subject to this principle. I’ve felt that ‘tug’ on my sleeve when I expressed a desire to get out of the bucket.
Author Charlie “T” Jones often made a comment that the person you will be in 5 years is based on the books you read and the people you surround yourself with today. I believe this. I have been influenced these past several years by many wonderful artist friends who have accomplished much in their careers and, by spending time with them, I’ve been motivated to grow. I’ve also spent a lot of time in books, both in skill development as well as in personal development, and feel that these have helped me make great strides in my profession. My scientific conclusion: By following this idea, I’m better off in my career than I was 5 years ago.
If I can offer any suggestions for growth, it is to evaluate your peer group and make sure that they want the best for you and are not pulling you back down into the bucket!