10 Signs Of Crab Mentality And How To Prevent Them

I am a 100% Filipino and I believe that we are known for our positive traits such as being hospitable and cheerful individuals. We are also known for being generous and hardworking.  Indeed, there are a lot of positive traits that we Filipinos have and are proud off.

However, despite the number of positive traits that we have, there is one negative trait that I have observed among us. Unfortunately, this trait is seldom recognized by individuals and is often treated as normal by others. That trait is what you call Crab Mentality.

Crab Mentality is a term used to those who always try to pull down other people who are succeeding in life and getting ahead of them.  They can be likened to crabs that are in a bucket that instead of assisting each other in reaching the top are pulling each other down.

Most often, people, especially within the workplace, are always busy gossiping and criticizing others instead of appreciating the news and stories about their achievements.

How will you know if a person has crab mentality? As I’ve mentioned, this trait is often treated as normal and is not recognized by others. However, there are signs which may show that a person has this kind of mentality.  Here are signs and possible actions to prevent them:

1) They think of themselves as superior to others and are often too proud of themselves.

People who have this kind of mentality become arrogant. They tend to regard themselves as special individuals that when they earn achievements of their own, whether big or small, they brag it to everyone to position themselves higher from the rest. I’m not saying that letting people know about your achievements is wrong, but when you reach a point where in you treat others as inferior to you because of what you have, that is when it becomes negative.

Action: Always remember where and why you started.

Keep in mind that no matter how far we go in life, we were all once kids who simply want to enjoy and be recognized by others. We should always stay humble no matter what we achieve in life.

Children running
Children running

2) They feel envious, jealous, and bitter when they see their peers happy and improving.

People become insecure when they see people they look down to are rising or progressing beyond them.  One example is when someone who was hired after you gets promoted and becomes your boss.  It gives you a terrible feeling of insecurity and instead of congratulating him or her; you say harsh words and gossip behind his or her back.

Action: Let the success of others become your inspiration to strive harder.

Instead of becoming jealous and bitter with other people’s achievement, focus on what they did that led them to reach where they are right now.  Consider them as examples and inspiration. Believe that you will also be able to achieve that they have achieved. Be contented with what you have right now and work hard to become better.

3) “If I can’t have it, neither can you”.

These people have the tendency to become selfish and would rather want everyone to fail than let themselves fail while others are succeeding. They are like the crabs in the bucket, who pull down each other in a selfish competitive manner instead of working together to escape.

Action: Have the “Bayanihan” Mentality or communal unity.

Have a particular objective and goal. Help others to achieve theirs. Instead of trying to pull others down, help them become successful. They would also in turn help you in achieving your goals.

4) They only see the good things in themselves, but only see the negative things in other people.

People with crab mentality only see their positive traits but never their negative ones. On the other hand, they only notice the negative things about other people and never the positive ones. As a result, you never receive appreciation from these people and most often, you’ll only get negative criticisms out of them.

Action: Be more aware of your negative traits and try to focus on other person’s positive traits.

Try to assess yourself better. Become aware of the negative things that other people see in you and try to change them into positive ones. At the same, time, notice the positive things that other people have and let them know so that they can also better manifest these traits.

5) They blame other people for their mistakes and failures rather than helping them.

One more negative thing among these people is that they have the tendency totake advantage of people. When they see other people who are down, they would bring them lower instead of helping them stand up. A simple example of this is when you see someone who tripped and fell to the ground, you will laugh at him or her instead of helping them.

 Action: Take the initiative in helping others.

Whenever something bad happens, never blame other people and instead work together and help each other up. Instead of waiting for others to take action, you yourself take the initiative and start helping those who are in need.

6) They consider their friends, teammates and co-workers as competitors.

Competition is actually good in every work environment as it could boost productivity and provide better results. However, the danger comes people start to consider everyone as a competitor. Cooperation and teamwork are less likely to be practiced by individuals with crab mentality. They would choose to have success on their own rather than grabbing a victory as a team. They would rather choose to loose than not become the star of the game.

 Action: Focus on teamwork and be cooperative with others.

Success is never a success unless you are able to share it with other people. Be cooperative and become a team player. Success is surely to come to anyone who plays for the team rather than for themselves alone. “If you want to go fast, go alone, If you want to go far, go together.” – anonymous

7) Compassion is never part of their vocabulary.

                Compassion is the ability to understand the feelings of other people. Therefore, considering them before taking action. People with crab mentality do not know about compassion and are inconsiderate and ignorant of people they are possibly offending. In simple terms, they only care for themselves.

Action: Practice compassion.

Be compassionate. Put yourselves in the shoes of other people. Think of what you would feel if you were the one’s in their position. From there, try to do things that would benefit not only you, but others as well.

8) They act like they know everything.

These people do not accept criticisms from other people. They believe that they know everything that they are doing and are not open for suggestions from other people. They never consider opinions from other individuals.

Action: Be open for suggestions.

Knowing what to do in every situation is a good thing. But we would always consider the opinion of other people and try to weigh the consequences. Brainstorming with other people can help a lot as they say, “Two heads are better then one.”

9) They would rather talk about other people than discuss solutions and other ideas.

Unfortunately, this is very common in the workplace. Do something wrong and everyone will notice it, no matter how small it is. People with crab mentality find joy whenever they talk about other people’s lives. To them, gossiping about other people’s lives is normal.

Action: Focus on solutions and ideas rather than the latest gossips.

According to the “21 Ways Rich People Think Differently”, “Average people would rather be entertained than educated. Rich people would rather be educated than entertained.” Rather than talking about someone else, discuss on things that matter. Focus on things that can make you a better individual. I’m sure; your outlook in life will change once you are able to practice it.

10) People with Crab Mentality will never admit they have one.

As I’ve mentioned before, most people think of these signs as normal. As a result, they will never admit that they have this kind of mentality.

Action: Be aware of the signs.

We have to be aware of this negative attitude or habit. Then we should get rid of it, not only for ourselves, but also for everyone as well.

Even I at times admit that I have this kind of mentality. I become envious, bitter and selfish. But I know, being one will not get me anywhere. So rather than focusing on this negative attitude, I try to become better each day by avoiding to manifest the signs and would rather focus on the actions that can be done to prevent them.

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I hope this article taught you something about how to achieve success.
Please don’t forget to share if you like it! :)

I Struggle, I Win!
Jeypi Kyu

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  • It seems impossible to reverse crab mentality nowadays, especially for Filipinos. I see it on social media daily and it is rather disappointing. It’s just that everyone has been brought up and influenced that way.

  • dmhyf

    The advent of social media really enhanced this crab mentality! When you read comments on FB, people really think they are so superior such that they use hurtful words to bash or bully. – Fred

  • I agree with those traits as I have experienced it first hand and learned from it. I hope a lot of people would follow through with the action plans you posted. Thanks for the awesome post!

    • Jeypi Kyu

      Thanks mai!. 🙂 i do hope so too..

  • A good sign that we evaluate ourselves by our merits and understanding. Each one of us have its own way of learning and taking positive steps in real life. Learning is a continuous processes of our likes and dislikes, wants and needs, love and hate, etc…etc…Our differences makes the world go round.

  • It’s really unfortunate that crab mentality exists. People tend to get jealous of other people’s success. People should just use other people’s success as motivation instead.

  • I agree with you. My advice for those with crab mentality is: be careful who you step on while you climb up. When you fall down, you may meet the same people on your way down… or worse, need their help to come back up again.

  • Crab mentality is awful. If you want to be better, you don’t have to bring others down. It’s sad, really 🙁

  • Oh I know a lot of people with this and in the blogger world it’s very rampant. I could never understand why we can’t help each other instead.

  • Maerose JS

    I agree that most of the traits mentioned above are characteristics of “most” Filipinos. They have been the culture and the tradition and it’s not easy to eradicate that from their system. For one, we were taught to compete since the first grade. Crab mentality is basically one of the reasons why I felt the need to soul-search in a foreign land instead. Some place else where they live the janteloven. Janteloven is a very interesting concept existing in Scandinavia. 🙂 But I have to say this: you need not generalize. I’ve met plenty of Filipinos who are nice, they mind their own business, and most specially, they don’t judge.

    • Jeypi Kyu

      Yes Maerose.. I do believe there are a lot of nice Filipinos out there as well.. as I mentioned on the start of this post, I believe that Filipinos are also known for hospitality and generosity. I believe that we have more positive traits than negative. thanks for your thoughts on this, :).

  • Kelly Chin

    I agree with you, we must follow and Focus on solutions and ideas rather than the latest gossips.

  • yvonnembertoldo .

    It’s just sad to know that Filipinos have been stereotyped to practice crab mentality. 🙁 It’s just that a lot have that insecurity in their selves that they want to pull down those people that are already successful in life.

  • “Let the success of others become your inspiration to strive harder.” – this is one thing a lot of people really don’t practice. i understand how easy it is to get jealous of others, but staying that way won’t do you any good. Instead, move forward with that inspiration.

  • Karla Ramos

    This is so right on. Love that you expressed your idea about crab mentality very clearly. i also strongly agree with number 10. The only way to prevent it is to know that we have this trait.

  • People with crab mentality can really suck out the joy in life if you let them. So just smile and move along, knowing that ultimately you’ll reach your dreams while they’ll probably be still stuck in the miserable conditions they’ve made for themselves. Smile and stay positive! 🙂

  • lee rosales

    Gossip.. crab mentality… arrogant are the worst trait of many Filipinos! I dont understand why people are so jealous and they will pull you down when you are achieving and being successful in your career etc