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Crabs in a Bucket

The transition from military to civilian life can be filled with uncertainty. Although it’s a difficult, you have the ability to redefine yourself, to start from scratch, and to pursue what you really want. There are very few times in your life where you have the opportunity you have now.


But the transition obviously isn’t just about you. There are family, friends, and maybe a significant other to think about and take into consideration. You need to listen to them, but you also need to take into consideration how they are affecting your life. But, there are probably a lot of people telling you what to do. And, if I had to guess, there are probably a lot of people adding negativity to an already stressful time in your life.


For example, if you have far-reaching goals or dreams (or they may not even be that far-reaching), a lot of people will reply with a sense of negativity. “Oh you will never be able to achieve that! Do you really think that’s a good idea? Just do the smart thing and take the job right in front of you” and the list goes on. And not just with your goals or dreams – there are probably people around you that are just constantly negative in your everyday life. Are they adding value to your life, or are they bringing you down?

It’s similar to the crabs in a bucket story. What happens when you put a bunch of crabs in a bucket? Just like any creature that is trapped, the crabs will want to get out. But, just as one is getting ready to pull itself to freedom, the other crabs pull it down. It’s the mentality that “If I’m not getting out then you’re not getting out either”



Think about people who are currently pulling you down in life or have in the past.


If you realize that one or more of these people are bringing more negativity into your life than joy or positivity, it might be a good idea to spend less time with them. Some might be close family or friends. It’s hard. I’m not telling you to cut ties with your family – but it’s necessary that you acknowledge it. It might be beneficial to spend less time with them. Or better yet – talk to them about it. It’ll be uncomfortable, but it’s your life and it’s important. There needs to be effective communication. A lack of communication breeds resentment and fosters tension.


The transition is an obstacle, yes. But if viewed as an opportunity, and if surrounded by people that support and love you, this could be the most exciting and transformative time of your life. Remember, you are in control of the transition.

Phil Randazzo


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