The Cockroach Theory for Self Development

A beautiful speech by Sundar Pichai!!! – NO, not really. It is just an inspirational general story, narrated by Sundar Pichai (CEO of Google) during his speech.

Three women met. Yeah you can guess; exchange of news, views and loads of information! One particular part of their discussions caught my attention. One of the ladies, with a lot interest, was sharing some interesting facts about cockroach. With a lot of amazement she was telling how a cockroach can run three miles in an hour and can change directions 25 times in a second. A cockroach could live a long time, perhaps a week without its head. There was non-stop excitement in her voice as she continued saying, “a cockroach has amazing adaptability. It can survive in any climate, in any house condition, inside any crack, etc. Its antennae, which rivals NASA’s Global Positioning System, helps it to locate other cockroaches with state of the art precision. Cockroaches could be used to place surveillance devices in military installations. In fact a cockroach can survive even an atomic explosion.”

Suddenly, a cockroach flew from nowhere and sat on her. I wondered if this was the cockroach’s response to all the glory that was spoken about it! She started screaming out of fear. With panic stricken face and trembling voice, she started doing stationary jumping , with both her hands desperately trying to get rid of the cockroach. Her reaction was contagious, as everyone in her group got cranky to what was happening. The lady finally managed to push the cockroach to another lady in the group. Now, it was the turn of the other lady in the group to continue the drama. The waiter rushed forward to their rescue. In the relay of throwing, the cockroach next fell upon the waiter. The waiter stood firm, composed himself and observed the behavior of the cockroach on his shirt. When he was confident enough, he grabbed and threw it out with his fingers.

Sipping my coffee and watching the amusement, the antenna of my mind picked up a few thoughts and started wondering, “was the cockroach responsible for their histrionic behavior? If so, then why was the waiter not disturbed? He handled it near to perfection, without any chaos. It is not the cockroach, but the inability of the ladies to handle the disturbance caused by the cockroach that disturbed the ladies.”

I realized even in my case then , it is not the shouting of my father or my boss that disturbs me, but it’s my inability to handle the disturbances caused by their shouting that disturbs me. It’s not the traffic jams on the road that disturbs me, but my inability to handle the disturbance caused by the traffic jam that disturbs me. More than the problem, it’s my reaction to the problem that hurts me.

Lessons learnt from the story:

I understood, “I should not react in life. I should always respond. ” The women reacted, whereas the waiter responded. Reactions are always instinctive whereas responses are always intellectual.

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