Life In The Crab Bucket

The funny thing about crabs is you can stick them in a bucket without a lid and they stay there.

And if you grab one and try to pull it out, you can guarantee that at least one of the other crabs will come attached with it, trying to pull it back in.

And once upon a time I was stuck in the crab bucket myself.

Now before you say to yourself “Has Frank finally gone off his rocker?”, no I haven’t.  Honestly.  Not yet.  Not this time.

We are all born in the crab bucket.  A few of us manage to get out.

And in order for us to get out, we have to disentangle ourselves from all the other crabs trying to hold us in.  Of course the other crabs are our friends and family, and they think they’re doing the right thing for us.  Most of the time.

Let’s see now.

We’re born, we’re taught to be a good boy (or girl), we’re packed off to school where they teach us how to be good little work units, ideal fodder for the machine, we struggle to be “normal” (whatever that is) and the same as our peers, and then later we find ourselves stuck in a job, unable to substantially better ourselves or earn our freedom.

And all us crabs moan about our lot to each other, and nothing changes because none of us really want it to change.

Years go by and we have children of our own and we do the same damn thing to them.

All inside the crab bucket.

Our parents tell us crabby stuff, our teachers teach us to behave like better crabs – “Get good grades, go to University, get a good job!” – and all our friends are crabs too, so they just reinforce the crabby way of life.

It seems “normal” to do all the things that most other people do because everybody we know does them.

The horrible thing is, the only chance you might ever stand of learning anything different is when you’re growing up and you go to school…  But…  All the teachers know is what they’ve always done.

They don’t have any more of a clue as to what it might be like outside the crab bucket than any of us do.  They’re too busy shaping the crabs of tomorrow and making sure they’re meeting their targets and ticking all the boxes.

And they certainly don’t know what to do with people who don’t respond to the system or don’t fit.  When I was a kid I’ve even heard disparaging remarks from teachers to fellow students who said they were going to work in their dad’s business when they left school.

Not intentionally in most cases, but stuff like…

“But you’re bright.  You could do so much better if you go to University and get a degree.”

I made a friend the day when one kid said – “What?  And become a teacher?  No thanks!” – and I burst out laughing.  No-one else did.

I think I knew even then a regular job wasn’t for me, but I didn’t have a clue as to what would fit me better.

Along the way, some of us realise that we don’t actually fit the norm, and we start our own businesses with varying success.  Many people go for trades like garden services, or carpentry, or electrics and some people do really well at it and expand, hiring staff as they go.

But to me, a job, even in your own business is still being stuck in the bucket with the rest of the crabs.  It’s still the same old 9-5, but often extended to 8-7 instead.

The thing is, most of us think the same way and we don’t even know we’re doing it.

How would you feel if you knew that only 1 in 100 actually get out of the bucket?  And that only 1 in 100 of them do really well at it?

That’s because nobody in the normal mainstream can teach us how to think differently, and we’re left to either work it out for ourselves, or stumble across someone who will show us the way.  And seriously, there are a lot fewer of those who are competent enough and prepared to do it than you would think.

Most of that special breed of people won’t tell you what to do as they’re okay and they can’t be bothered to interrupt their own lives, and you never even hear about them.  And those that will for a price usually can’t help you either.

But it’s not their fault, it’s yours.  Take it with a pinch of salt when someone says it isn’t your fault.

You’re stuck in the crab bucket, and even though you might say you want to get out, the person that’s really holding you back is YOU.

You can’t blame anyone else for you being stuck in the bucket.

For a long time now I’ve said that if you want to know who’s responsible for all your problems, go look in the mirror.  And if you’re thinking to yourself “Ah well, Frank, you don’t know my circumstances, it really isn’t my fault.”  Then my answer to that is “WHO exactly is it living your life?  “WHO is the puppet master controlling your every move, your every decision, your every circumstance?”

No-one.  It’s your life and you get to make all the decisions…

A few years ago, I was lucky enough to be seriously ill for two years, well more like four or five in total if you count recovery time.

While I was ill, I took the time out to closely examine my life to see what was wrong with it.

It was a pile of crabs.

What did I want?  What did I REALLY want?

I wanted my freedom.

I wanted to be able to come and go pretty much as I please, and not be at the beck and call of a job and a boss.

I wanted to be able to earn enough money with little work so that I could enjoy things more.  You know, smell the roses.  Relax a bit.  Not have to worry too much about things.

I thought I knew what to do.

It’s been a bit of a ride since then.  I learned a lot along the way, and I’m nearly there.

You see, I still work.  A lot of it is fun.  (Work?  Fun?)

I get lots of things wrong.  I’ve learned I REALLY can’t stand whiners and any kind of negativity.  I don’t finish stuff off properly because of the 80-20 rule which I apply – and I also get distracted.

The thing is, I really DO know what to do now.

But recently personal circumstances have been tearing me away from it all more and more.  And the death of a distant cousin at 44, and the surprise triple heart bypass my dad just had sort of stops you and makes you think again.

(Yes it was a surprise for us all.  He went in to have something called a stent fitted, and they did a triple bypass instead.  It will probably give him back 5-10 years of vitality and he’ll probably live a lot longer too.  It’s good news…  And my dad being the huge footy fan that he is, what was the first thing he said when he came round from the anaesthetic and saw my mom?

“Has my season ticket come?”)

Anyway…  It’s time for me to work very hard now.  I know it won’t be easy to begin with, but it will get better, because I have a plan, and I KNOW what I’m doing.

I have to shuck off the work I’ve been doing myself.  I’ll be putting in place more systems and processes, and hiring more people to do the stuff I never have the time to finish off properly.  My final hire will be someone to manage it all for me, and I’ll train them myself personally.

Of course I won’t completely disappear.

I enjoy doing this too much to just walk away from it for good, but my personal circumstances mean I really have to be able to drop everything and walk away for days or weeks at a time.  It can’t be helped.

While I was looking at all of this, reviewing everything and making these decisions, I realised that at both of these key periods in my journey I’ve been forced into doing it.

I knew what I really wanted, but wasn’t able to take that last little step and make it happen.  I’ve been skirting around it.

See, I’m like most people.  I was born a crab, but I realised that there was something better.  Something that no-one could teach me, and I had to find it out for myself.

And in that respect we’re all different.

One hundred of us can learn the same stuff, but only one will make it work for them.

That’s because deep inside, most of us don’t really want things to change.

And I believe it’s only when we recognise our crabbiness for what it is and that we see our own limitations that we can finally decide what it is we really want, and that what we want is to get out of the bucket.

It starts by thinking differently to everyone else and seeing things from a different angle that works for YOU – and I’ll discuss this another time.  (Different people do the same things differently, one way will NOT work for everybody.)

But once we’ve made that decision, the next thing we need is an ignition of some sort, a spark to get us to actually do something about it.

I firmly believe that the spark is already inside us, and all we have to do is look for and truly WANT to find it, and just like in my case, it will be there when we really need it.

All we have to do is give ourselves the deep down permission to do what it is we really want, and for most of us I think it’s to get out of the crab bucket.

-Frank Haywood

Posted by Frank Haywood


Hey Frank… that I enjoyed. Sums up what I believe far more eloquently than I ever could! How true…we are born in the crab bucket and most will die in the crab bucket, never knowing anything of the world outside. A bit like the old book “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” – although that particular author wrote a far better book in “A Gift of Wings”


Deep stuff Frank,

It really is not your fault if you do not know any better, but once someone points it out to you, like you have just done Frank, then it is all down to just one person, yourself. Ignorance really is blissful.

The trouble is, some crabs think the only way out of the bucket is to climb over the backs of other crabs. Then there is the other sort like you Frank, who once they get out, go back and try to pull the other crabs out.

Just be careful to keep your balance and do not fall back in!

Hey Frank, this was a very good story and it has given me a lot to think about on what I WANT.
I am now sick of being in the crab bucket and want to be one of the hundred crabs to secape and then become one of the escaped hundred to succeed!!
So I have now started a “pro’s and cons” list of want I want and how I’m going to acieve it.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas with us.
Take care.

Hi Frank,
Great article and oh so true.

Being the wrong side of the big 60 I have had a few circumstances in my time where I have taken stock of life in the “crab bucket”. In my case my crab bucket was not a too bad environment so it always seemed the better place to be.
However, 4 years ago, something happened and I finally escaped the bucket.
I am now of course pleased that I did, although it hasn’t been without its challenges and I’m sure there are more to come.

Frank, though I have to say that as I grew up by the sea side not too far from Cromer (famous for its crabs) my experience from my childhood that the vast majority of crabs that leave the bucket end up in hot


Frank Haywood


Ah, the honey trap. Been there. Great job, good people, good money. It didn’t last, nothing is forever. And when things change as they always do, another few years have gone by with the dream becoming more of a dream as it slips away.


We need bad things sometimes so that it forces good change decisions from us.


Steve Reh

Thanks Frank for such a great post. it has certainly made me stop and reflect. I put this post on my Blog with a link to you Blog as it was so significant to me and I wanted my members to see it.

Its so true what you are saying here and we all have to break free and achoeve our destiny.
Please keep these terrific posts coming. I have been following you for a long time and you always write from the heart.

I thank you so much for this Frank.

Steve Reh

Thanks for such a great post. It has really made me think and to get on with the job of breaking free . This post has really inspired me and i will be sharing it with all my friends.

I used to fish on the beach a lot as a kid and I can relate exactly to what you say about the crabs.
There is really a comparison between crabs and people behaviour.

Thanks again for this [post


Rod Saunders

Hi Frank.

Very well put. I know the crab story and desperately want out of the bucket. It’s not easy to get clear of the other crabs and differentiate myself. Still working at it… won’t give up- I’m terrified of hot water!


Michael Pedzotti

Hey Frank, this is inspirational stuff and deep. I had been thinking that you were not as active online as you used to be.

You have used the crab analogy very well to sum up the lot of many people but, as you know, it is difficult for a crab to see life from any point of view other than that of a … crab. It is only when a crab looks at itself and the other crabs and decides that “there must be more than this”, that change can take place.

I wish you well going forward and look forward to your posts from time to time when you want to let the world know you are still there.

Do you have your manager all sorted out or is that all still in the planning phase?


Frank Haywood

@Michael Pedzotti:

Yeah I’ve had personal stuff keep me out of the picture for chunks of time. It can’t be helped.

As for a manager – looking for a job? I’m in promising discussions with someone at the moment, but if it doesn’t pan out, I’ll keep looking. 😉

The “Hedghog Principle” my business is adopting is to list build, and the new guy will initially be expected to add 500 new subscribers a week as his core role. (All new hires have to pay their way immediately – no free rides.)

It’s not as big and scary or impossible a task as it seems (500 a *day* is achievable once you have a system and the right offer), and the hardest part will be to put the right background systems and processes in place.


Michael Pedzotti

I hope you find the right person for the job. You have a lot of great products already out there and with PLR Code Mine you have applied a bit of pressure to develop new products quickly.

I am currently adding extra value to each of your already valuable PLR Code Mine products. I have spent a few months getting systems together myself to allow me to duplicate what I already have for each new PLR product that comes out.

I am about to launch a massive upgrade to one of them as a premium product and give the vanilla version (no offence intended) away as a teaser and list builder. I am not sure about getting 500 a week using my system though. I sure would like to see your system that does that.

Anyway, if the current discussions don’t work out and you are happy working with someone in Australia, you have my email 😉

Frank Haywood

Hi Michael,

I’m going to hire someone new every month now (if I can find the right people) and integrate them into the business, all with different tasks, mostly product creation.

That’s one of the cooler ways of using the PLR Code Mine products, and in fact I see them as being most useful for the list building process. I now see building a list as identical to building a business.

I have to admit I don’t have the system in place yet that will constantly bring in 500 new subscribers in a week, but I tested a few weeks ago and pulled in almost 400 brand new subscribers over 3 days, so I know it can be done without too much pain. You just need the right offer and traffic – this one method cost me under $50 and I immediately did around the $500 mark in sales, so well worth it. It takes a little time (about 2-3 days) and judgement to set up which is why I haven’t pursued it further yet.

When I do get the assistant marketer / manager / me replacement, that will be one of the things I’ll have them immediately working on.

I’ll drop you a line anyway just to let you know what I’m after. 😉


Hamant Keval

Hello Frank,

What a great story and the crab analogy was brilliant.
It really does make you think how we grow up and are taught to think a certain way.

I myself was fortunate never to actually work for anyone and had a bricks and mortar business since leaving school and at a very early stage after working very hard, realized the strength of delegation to the right people.
But even after a very succesfull business, I woke up one day not wanting to be where I was and what I was doing.
I think it was the “internet living lifestyle” bug that I had caught, and sure enough it was a tough one, a heck of a lot of learning, as things change and meander and coem around again, but the dream persists even through thick and thin.
But when it works by god it works well.
Its all worth it in the end.

By the way I always enjoy reading your blog and “deep” thoughts like this post. So dont dissapear, even if you just have to write a post every so often.

Thanks Frank – for helping us all to “get out of that Crab Bucket ” and have the courage to leave those trying to bring us back in

Take care


Hamant Keval

By the way – I forgot to thank you for the Multiple Stream Theme and the additional Video tutorial really did the trick.

Even after building hundreds of blogs, I would never have realized what the in widget system was – Brilliant.

Oh and since you are a somewhat expert in wordpress and plugins developer, I did want to ask your opinion on a wp plugin that was released recently but it would not be pertinent to mention it on the blog so I may ring you, if thats OK?
I am not too far from you – in Lancashire.


Frank Haywood

Hi Hamant,

Hey thank you for that, I’ve dropped you an email.

Don’t we all get stuck in one way of thinking at some point or another? All it takes is a little time-out or some kind of incident to make use rethink what we’re doing and why…

As for “Widgets In It” plugin, it will be released shortly (this week?) as a special offer bundle with Ads Manager, and I’ll be offering that to everyone that purchased the Multiple Streams Theme at half the special offer price as you’d already have Ads Manager. 😉