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Eagles Eat Crabs

In 2016 our company, The Wealth Factory, participated in the Village Capital FinTech accelerator. The program invites the top 10 financial technology companies in the world with a social impact to participate. We had the esteemed pleasure of meeting and having Steve Case, founder of AOL as our mentor.

During a board meeting, Steve provided his insight on the tenacity and grit it takes to start a company. He shared his first-hand experience of packing his bags to chase his dreams in Silicon Valley and refusing to leave until he accomplished his goal.

After he gave one of the most memorable accounts of my life, I dared to ask him a question about his perspective on my future.

“Hi Steve, thanks so much for spending your time with us. It’s an honor and a pleasure. As you know, our company creates financial literacy education technology games and we are doing quite well. Do you feel as though we should focus on fundraising or revenue generation?”

With the easiest of grace, as if he had already considered the question, Steve responded “Angel I have no doubt you will do well and will take off like a rocket ship (as he sailed his hand into the air). You will be successful. But if you want to sustain that success and go as far as possible you will need a team and building a team requires funding. Thus, I would suggest you focus on fundraising. If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far, go together (and then he smiled).”

Sitting there in that room with one of the greatest minds on the planet, I had no choice but to accept the advice that had been imparted to me. He unselfishly gave his best opinion of my company and customized his response to our personal needs coupled with what I later found out was an African proverb.

If a man of his stature can share information so freely and generously to encourage someone to soar to their greatest heights, what keeps crabs in a barrel?

Crabs in a barrel have a crab mentality where they pull each other back into the barrel as each one tries to escape, feeling as though ‘if they can’t be free, neither can the other crab.’ While essentially all of the crabs could escape, it struggles because the others in the barrel are constantly holding it back. The undermining of the crab to get away then results in the disaster of the entire barrel.

Many humans reflect the same mentality. They cluster in groups, for reasons of gender, race, geographic location, industry, and more. As members of these groups aim to excel, others in the group attack their confidence to succeed beyond the status quo of the group. There are a myriad of reasons for this behavior, ranging from jealousy, envy, conspiracy, greed, competition, insecurity to even Willie Lynch.

In 2015, New Zealand conducted a research study on the impact of crab mentality on academic performance. Results proved that students were 18% more likely to demonstrate higher grades when they were reported without others knowing of their position.


***New Book - Mental Wealth: 27 Laws of Rich - Coming Soon January 2019***

Published By

Angel Rich Vice Chair at DC Government Financial Literacy Council


#12 Eagles Eat Crabs Helping others to achieve their greatest height while dismissing a crab mentality Mental Wealth: 27 Laws of Rich - Coming Soon January 2019

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