One of my early mentors taught me a valuable lesson that I’ve also been able to pass on to others and have discussed the concept in earlier writings. The lesson is that if you want to be successful, you need to start spending the majority of your time with people who are already successful.

An important issue, however, is to define your idea of success. Is that success in your profession or work life? Is it being a success in your personal life? Is your idea of success becoming financially independent? This is critical because someone who is financially independent may or may not enjoy a rewarding personal life. Therefore, choose wisely and maybe consider some parameters. For instance, achieving financial independence will not involve doing anything illegal or unethical; therefore, it will not come at a ‘success at any cost’.

Associating with the right people, however, really does make a difference. Have you ever noticed how people who are drowning in problems, financial or otherwise, are surrounded by others in the same situation? People naturally become molded by the people they are around. It's just a natural human tendency to become a part of our environment. So the bottom-line is that we need to choose our environment very carefully.

While it's sometimes difficult to free yourself from a bad situation, it's certainly possible if you have the dedication and commitment rise above the current situation. You just need the desire mixed with some dogged determination. In fact, what can make it so hard to climb out of a bad situation is the people who unknowingly want to hold you back. Since they are fearful of anything different than what they know, they want to protect you by keeping you exactly where you are.
Many people refer to this as the "crabs in a bucket mentality".

Strange as it might seem but if one crab is put into an open bucket it will attempt to climb out. However, if there are two or more crabs in the same container when one of the crabs tries to climb out, the other crabs will pull it back in; therefore, none of them escapes. It essentially means that "if I can’t have it, neither can you."

My early mentor told me that “you must ignore the crabs if you want to be a success.” He went on to say “Don’t let others pull you back to the pack because of their jealousy or just wanting to protect you from their fear of failure.”

Luckily you’re not a crab and you don’t live in a bucket with few options. By recognizing that others are pulling you back or holding you down, you can overcome their resistance.

Bottom-line, don't let other peoples' fears hold you back. Once you've decided on a goal, pursue it with everything you've got. It won’t be easy but you can escape the crab bucket mentality by choosing with whom you associate. If someone says you cannot do something, ignore them and limit or cut your ties to the negativeness they emit. Think about it.