Crab mentality

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A number of crabs in a bucket

Crab mentality, sometimes referred to as crabs in the bucket, is a phrase that describes a way of thinking best described by the phrase "if I can't have it, neither can you." The metaphor refers to a pot of crabs. Individually, the crabs could easily escape from the pot, but instead they grab at each other in a useless "king of the hill" competition which prevents any from escaping and ensures their collective demise.[1][2] The analogy in human behavior is sometimes claimed to be that members of a group will attempt to negate or diminish the importance of any member who achieves success beyond the others, out of envy, conspiracy or competitive feelings.

Impact on performance[edit]

This term is broadly associated with short-sighted, non-constructive thinking rather than a unified, long-term, constructive mentality.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Crab mentality –, Philippine News for Filipinos". 2010-05-14. Retrieved 2012-05-22. 
  2. ^ "Dureza: The naughty PNoy". Sun.Star. 2012-05-03. Retrieved 2012-05-22. 
  3. ^ Crab Mentality Is Universal (January 19, 2010. Part 7 of the "In Defense of the Filipino" series.), (archived from the original on 2011-07-10)