Crab in the Bucket Story

March 11, 2013 12:40 pm Published by

One time a man was walking along the beach and sees another man fishing in the surf with a bait bucket beside him. As he drew closer, he saw that the bait bucket had no lid and had live crabs inside.

“Why don’t you cover your bait bucket so the crabs won’t escape?”, he said.
“You don’t understand.”, the man replied, “If there is one crab in the bucket it would surely crawl out very quickly. However, when there are many crabs in the bucket, if one tries to crawl up the side, the others grab hold of it and pull it back down so that it will share the same fate as the rest of them.”
So it is with people. If one tries to do something different, get better grades, improve themselves, escape their environment, or dream big dreams, other people will try to drag them back down to share their fate. Fortunately however, it isn’t necessary to step on each other to try to get out of the bucket. In fact, it is impossible to lift yourself up while holding someone else down.

I first heard this story shortly after I was first licensed as a Realtor and it has stuck with me ever since.  It soon occurred to me how true it was. I found that those in my profession that I most admired, the most successful in my field – were also generally most willing to share with me the knowledge that they had learned over the years. They were not threatened by me in any way and nor did they need to be.  Not because of a lack of faith in my abilities (although perhaps that was the case too!) but because they realized that their success had nothing to do with me. Rather their success depended only upon themselves.  The ones that may have been struggling on the other hand wanted to keep their secrets to themselves!  They were and probably remain – ‘the crab in the bucket’.

A successful company will try to be mindful of their own duties and worry less about their competition. It serves us and our clients well to maintain and indeed foster a good working relationship with our competition. The consumer is presented with many choices when it comes to Real Estate representation and many of them are very good.  If each company would strive to follow these guidelines, the consumer will be the big winner.


Thanks for reading,


Jeff Neumann



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