People put a high value on education—up to a point. You go to school all through your childhood, then—for physicians—complete undergraduate and medical degrees as well as a residency to be able to do what you do. However, many people stop actively seeking to learn, develop, and grow different areas of their lives and interests when they graduate and move into the workforce.
The most successful business people and medical professionals out there, however, never stop learning, and I don’t just mean continuing education or studying for boards. Self-improvement and personal growth are an important, and highly valuable, part of your career and life in general.
Here is a theory of self-development which is termed as The Cockroach Theory for Self Development.
At a restaurant, a cockroach suddenly flew from somewhere and sat on a lady. She started screaming out of fear. With a panic stricken face and trembling voice, she started jumping, with both her hands desperately trying to get rid of the cockroach. Her reaction was contagious, as everyone in her group also got panicky. The lady finally managed to push the cockroach away but… it landed on 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 it with his fingers and threw it out of the restaurant. 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 those people to handle the disturbance caused by the cockroach, that disturbed the ladies. I realized that, it is not the shouting of my father or my boss or my wife 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 creates chaos in my life.
Speech by Sundar Pichai – an IIT-MIT Alumnus and Global Head Google Chrome
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