A Life Lesson in Crabbing… No, Really…

Ahhh.  I bet you’ve never heard this metaphor before, but it’s a good one…  

A few weeks ago, I was on a boat crabbing on the Chesapeake Bay.   To do this, a trot line is set with chicken necks and sits on the bottom of the bay.  The boat rides alongside the trot line with a rig that pulls the line up out of the water as you pass by.  Hungry crab that are holding on to the chicken necks come up with the line.  The trick is to catch the crab in a net before the let go of the necks and disappear into the depths.  Even though I can’t eat crab (I’m allergic), it’s always a fun outing with my wife’s family. 

This particular morning, the water was choppy and the angle of the sun made it difficult to see the crab until they were just about to the water’s surface, which is usually when they let go.  It’s best to spot them a few feet down so that you can prepare to get the net under them.  I was having a very hard time catching the crab because I couldn’t see them clearly.  I decided to put on some sunglasses to cut down on the glare.  That helped.  We also strategically turned the boat around and approached the line from the opposite side.  This changed the angle of the sun on the water and I was astonished at how clearly we could now see the approaching crab.  Rather than letting them pass by unnoticed, I began catching them one right after the other. 

All right, here’s the lesson…  Life’s opportunties are always in front of us.  Sometimes, we have to change our perspective to SEE them.  Just because you don’t recognize them doesn’t mean they’re not there.  If you’re ignoring them or not looking for them, they can pass us, just like the crab.  We complain because we don’t get the promotion or the raise we desire, but are we really doing what we can showcase our talents?  What opportunties are we missing to show our spouses our love?  What special moments are we missing with our kids because we’re always in a rush?  What opportunties are we letting slip through our fingers to make a great impression on our customers in our businesses?  Too many times, these moments that could make for something significant in our lives just pass by unnoticed; wasted. 

So, how can you begin watching for new opportunties to change your life instead of just letting them disappear into the depths below?

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6 Responses

  1. Hi Charlie. What a coincidence–I had to stop and get some perspective today about crabs. Hermit crabs, that is (one of my children wanted some for her room).

    My 9 yo. Emily is a big fan of yours. She met you at her school last year and she loves to tell the story of your heroic efforts to save your sister from … a little fire. She can’t tell it without giggling. You must really have a way with children.

  2. Another great challenging and thought provoking post. Thanks Charlie.

  3. I love this! Sometimes I really just need to turn my boat the opposite direction against the current – the opportunities are always there if only I look in the other direction. Great analogy – commonsensical yet revolutionary!

  4. Charlie,
    Thats kind of like the old saying
    “you can’t see the forest for the trees”

    Great Post! Again!

  5. So true. If we could just learn to view every problem as possibility we would be so much better off.

  6. Thanks, guys, for the comments. Looking back, I’ve missed so many opportunties to do great things because I wasn’t looking. They were there, I just missed them. “Tuning in” to these moments can move us from where we are to where we want to be…

    Anita, please tell your daughter I said hello. I always enjoy my visits to schools!

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