When asked about the secret to a happy life, Google CEO Sundar Pichai spoke about the ‘cockroach theory for happiness’
The theory was a simple story. At a restaurant, a cockroach flew and sat on a lady. She panicked, began yelling and jumping desperately trying to get rid of the cockroach. Her reaction was contagious, as everyone in her group also got panicky. The lady pushed the cockroach away but, it landed on another lady in the group.
This woman mimicked the first woman’s actions until the waiter came forward. The cockroach next fell on the waiter. The waiter composed himself, grabbed it and threw it out of the restaurant. Sundar Pichai was watching the chaos nearby.
He wondered if the cockroach was responsible for their behavior. If so, then why was the waiter not disturbed? He handled it near to perfection, without any chaos. He realized that it wasn’t the cockroach, but the inability of those people to handle the disturbance caused by the cockroach.
He realized that it wasn’t the yelling of his father or his boss or his wife that disturbed him, but it was his inability to handle the disturbances caused by their yelling that disturbed him.
He realized that more than the problem, it was the reaction to the problem that created chaos in his life.