Get Out of the Boiling Pot!

Do you ever feel like your life is out of control? Do you feel like a crab boiling in a pot? What can this analogy teach us?

I don’t eat crabs, so I’ve never seen them prepared. But I am told they are often cooked alive. This seems like an agonizingly painful way to go, and I wonder why the crabs don’t try to get out of the pot? I would!

It turns out that the crabs will try to climb out, the ones on the top anyway, but they are rarely successful. Why? I’ve been told it can actually be because the crabs at the bottom pull them back down!

Does your life ever feel that way? If so, consider these questions:

1. Are you stuck in a “pot”?

If so, what pot are you in right now? In other words, what challenges do you currently face that you would like to climb out of? Take a moment to make a list of the various pots: perhaps debt, addiction, chronic illness, an unhappy relationship or legal trouble?

Change is hard. The first step to climbing out is to acknowledge how you got there in the first place Each of us, at some point, may feel stuck. Sometimes it’s our own choices that put us in the pot. If that’s the case, we probably want to change. But change is hard. The first step to climbing out is to acknowledge how you got there in the first place. Whether it’s because of reasons of your own making or reasons outside of your control, you are solely responsible for climbing out!

2. What will life be like if you don’t get out?

Let’s say you’re at the bottom of your pot. Maybe you’ve even tried getting out in the past, but for various reasons, you didn’t make it. Before you can decide to get out, you have to know what you stand to lose (or gain) by staying. This isn’t the time to focus on how hard it is to climb out, but on the fact that you are boiling to death! Whatever that may represent for you, it’s time to make a decision.

3. What kind of crabs do you hang out with?

Perhaps part of the problem is who you hang out with: the bottom-dwellers, the crabs trying to get to the top with you or those outside of the pot? You have to know the difference—it’s not enough to stay with those who only talk about getting out of the pot. It’s the doers who will get out. Are you diligently working on getting out of the pot and associating with others who are doing the same?

4. What (or who) is keeping you from climbing out of this pot?

If you’re struggling to get out, then consider what is pulling you down: your reputation, a lack of hope, a lack of know-how, a lack of support or maybe a saboteur? Yes, there are those who don’t want you to succeed! But sometimes we’re our own worst enemy. We don’t believe things can really change or know how to change them, so while we may want them to, we don’t put forth any real effort. Or, at the first sign of difficulty, we give up.

5. What will your future be like when you climb out?

To get out of the pot, we have to have a clear vision of what life will be like and why it’s better on the outside. It’s easy to talk about being miserable in your pot, but the reality is that we can often get pretty comfortable being in that miserable situation! We need to get uncomfortable—by imagining (in detail) how much better life will be outside of the pot. The more detailed our vision is, the more energy we direct to getting out.

So how do you learn to believe that life can be better?

Look to those who’ve made it out! See how their lives have improved, what they have achieved and how they did it. Someone like this could even become your mentor!

If you want to climb out, then start—today! Don’t waste another second in that boiling water.

We offer a number of resources to help you overcome the challenges you face in your life:

About the Author

Debbie Caudle

Debbie Caudle

From Canada to California and then Wyoming to Texas, Debbie Caudle’s journey has taken a lot of twists and turns, but through it all she’s had a lifelong desire to help others improve their lives. She has worked over 25 rewarding years as a licensed counselor, working with individuals, couples, children and families. This experience has taught her a lot about the challenges people face in conquering their worst fears and hurdling their toughest obstacles. 

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