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Music: A Dream worth PursuingCrabs in a bucket got you down?

Look, there are always going to be haters and naysayers.

And musicians aren’t the only ones that feel like they’re getting dragged down by their friends, family, or peers.

It happens to just about anyone that commits to their personal growth in a significant way. Because their social circle is forced to evaluate their laziness and lack of initiative.

And then they try to “keep you in check” and make fun of you for going after your dream. They want you to stay where you are so they aren’t required to get off of their sedentary butts.

Crabs in a Bucket Meaning – What Does it Mean?

If you put crabs in a bucket, what happens?

As one tries to escape and climb out of the bucket, the others pull him back down. No ones gets to escape!

On the one hand, it looks like virtue. As if someone is saying, “we’re all in this together!”

But the term “crabs in a bucket” is generally used to describe a situation where others actively hinder you from the progress you’re trying to make.

“Stop dreaming,” they say. “You’re only going to embarrass yourself.”

So, instead of supporting you and your music, your friends, family, peers, and loved ones try to keep you in check.

“Be realistic,” they say. Ever heard that doozie?

Based on my own experience, they do this because they know if you continue pursuing your dreams, you’re not going to be in their life as much as you used to be.

The ugly truth is even though they could choose to grow with you, sadly, most won’t. They don’t like confronting their narrow comfort zone.

Crabs in the Bucket Mentality

I think it’s fair to say crabs in the bucket mentality is pervasive. Most people are comfortable with where they are in life.

For most of my working life, I’ve been a musician, freelancer, and small business owner. Basically, I’ve always been pursuing my dream!

Can you imagine? There were crabs at every turn!

As I was getting started in business, excited about the possibilities, I had friends who were talking behind my back!

“Do you think Dave’s going to make it?”

“No, man. There’s no way.”

I didn’t even know about this until years later.

And as for when I became a digital nomad last year (2019)? Forget about it!

Two or three months beforehand, I told everyone I was going to be traveling the world. My first step was to move 10 hours westward, from Calgary, AB to Abbotsford, BC.

The moment I was gone, suddenly, all these “I miss you” messages started pouring in. And some people in my social network were in utter disbelief that I would just pick up and leave like that.

You can make an announcement, and think people have heard you.

But you’ll find out, relatively quickly, that a lot of people just sit around and talk about doing big things and never go and do them (if you couldn’t tell, I’m not that guy).

It’s okay, I’m not mad about it. I’m not going to judge anyone. I’ve got my own fears and unfortunately they hold me back sometimes, too.

But I’ve benefited greatly from stretching my dream muscle and leaning into the possibilities instead of shrinking down, holding back, and accepting things as they are.

Overcoming Crabs in a Bucket

Overcoming crabs in a bucket can be tough, especially early on.

If you don’t protect your dream, you will get dragged back in the bucket along with everyone else, relatively quickly.

The moment you begin pursuing your dream is the moment you’re most vulnerable to the crabs in the bucket.

The moment you begin pursuing your dream is the moment you're most vulnerable to the crabs in the bucket. Click To Tweet

So, here are my best tips for overcoming your challenges.

Keep a Positive Mind

No matter what you pursue in life, you will encounter challenges on the road to your destination.

Pursuing your passion makes it a little easier, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t going to be confronted with obstacles.

People often talk about being a certain kind of person, be it upstanding, brave, virtuous or whatever. But you will be put in situations where you will be tempted to compromise your values, as I have, and sometimes you will!

It’s through these experiences that you will begin to understand yourself more and grow as result.

There’s a lot of negative out there. And you’re either going to need to shut it out, or actively fill your mind with positive (we’ve got a lot of great resource recommendations here).

Read positive books. Listen to positive podcasts. Watch positive videos.

This is not about being delusional or staying positive at all costs. It doesn’t work that way.

But all things being equal, studies have shown that optimists live longer, perform better, and achieve more.

Given the choice, you may as well be positive!

Be in Action

Do something every day to move in the direction of your dreams. It doesn’t matter if it’s small. Just do something! This builds your self-confidence and belief.

You could do a bit of research. Read a few pages from a relevant book. Make a list of actions you need to take.

Again, it doesn’t matter how small the action. If you’re serious about becoming a musician, you’ve got to make it real. And the only way to make it real is by being in action.

Small daily actions do add up. It’s like a snowball gaining momentum down the side of a mountain. It might be small at first, but in time, it can grow into an entire avalanche!

Shut Out the Negative

I’m not going to tell you to cut ties with family, friends, or other negative people.

What I am going to suggest is limiting the amount of time you spend with them.

The occasional coffee, movie night, birthday party or whatever is fine.

But if you’ve got more important things to do, don’t feel obligated to go to every social event.

The reality is that if you stay on the growth path, your mindset will shift. Suddenly, the things people talk and worry about will seem trivial compared to the challenges you face.

But remember. You are not beyond reproach. At any moment, you could be tempted or cajoled into joining their ranks again. You’re human, after all.

So, you’ve got to shut out the negative and feed your mind more positive.

Crabs in a Bucket Song

There are a few songs out there about crabs in a bucket, but you’re probably thinking of k-os’ “Crabbuckit.”

You can have a listen here:

Crabs in a Bucket Quote

I couldn’t find a quote I liked, so I came up with my own.

Here goes:

For those about to embark upon a personal growth journey, be forewarned. Like crabs in a bucket, people will attempt to drag you down. This always happens at the least opportune moments. So, stay on guard and remain on course. Dreams are worth pursuing because of the challenges we face and overcome.


Whether it’s music, freelancing, entrepreneurship or anything unconventional, if you choose one day to pick up and begin pursuing your dreams, crabs in a bucket will be waiting for you.

When you’re at your lowest moments, broke, depressed, or in a compromising situation, crabs in a bucket will be waiting for you.

When you let your guard down and allow lazy people to speak into your life, crabs in a bucket will be waiting for you.

Don’t let them steal your dreams.

The word “desire” means “of God.” if you’re not comfortable with that terminology, you can think of it as “of the spirit”, “of the universe”, or “of the divine.”

The point being that if your desires are of the almighty, you are meant to pursue them! Don’t let anyone or anything tell you otherwise.

The road ahead will be paved with pot holes, obstacles, and impasses. But that doesn’t mean you weren’t meant to overcome and continue on.

You can do it! I believe in you.

David Andrew Wiebe

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