“Kaya hindi umuunlad ang Pilipinas, eh!”
We always hear or say this when another vehicle cuts you off, there’s an overpass but pedestrians don’t use them, or when cars don’t give way to pedestrian lanes. It’s the perfect phrase to describe our feelings when we find trash lying around the streets or when we overhear parents tell their kids to just throw their trash out the window. We find it appropriate to say, too, because Filipinos need to be explicitly instructed to keep right on footpaths.
What is it exactly? What hinders Filipinos from growth and prosperity? These little bad habits that our countrymen display is being identified as the root cause of stagnancy in our lives, and let me explain why they’re not so “little” after all.
When an individual is unaware or refuses to be aware of causing great damage to people, especially to those around them, he/she will not be able to compensate for his/her personal weakness. This is called the ‘blind spot’ – an area in the lives of people in which they continually do not see themselves or their situation realistically (according to The Gift of Leadership Book 2 by John Maxwell).
Also according to Maxwell, personal insecurity may be the most widespread blind spot in leadership. This causes a leader to think for himself rather than the very essence of leadership – focusing on others.
One of the behavioral signs of an insecure leader is the crab mentality. The metaphor comes from the observation of crabs in a bucket where they pull each other down when one begins to climb up and escape. Sadly, this mentality resembles the way some people behave. A person with a crab mentality has the habit of feeling threatened by the growth of others and deliberately stunts the growth of others. On the other hand, as a leader, a person is expected to empower each other.
Another sad truth is that upon Googling “crab mentality,” among the top searches are titled ‘Why is crab mentality common in the Philippines?’ and ‘Crab mentality among Filipinos’. How did the term get attached to us? Our country’s freedom was fought for with blood and for what? Just so we can take each other down rather than other countries doing it? I sure hope not.
In Daniel Goleman’s The New Leaders, he explained how culture can be used as a basis to develop an ideal vision for the group. Goleman wrote, “The more aligned the reality is with the ideal, the more the change can be counted on to persist over the long term.” He also says that “if the group lacks harmony or the ability to cooperate, decision -making quality and speed suffer.”
That being said, I believe that the success of Filipinos can be attained by getting rid of the crab mentality. The crab mentality is a bad habit that hinders a person’s growth, and awareness is the first step. Getting rid of it means to act in consideration of the people involved in his team, allies, and countrymen. It also means to work in unison and compromisation. We, Filipinos, can be great leaders if we shed light on this blind spot.
How do you deal with people with a crab mentality? Share with us in the comments!
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