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“The Cockroach Theory for Self Development” by Sundar Pichai

by on May 1, 2015
 

Hard Work, Sincerity and Humbleness” These words go inline with none other than Sundar PichaiSVP, Chrome and Apps, Google. Well this man needs no introduction as he has been face of Google products from a while now. He was the man behind Google Chrome browser, which by the way is a 2/3 chance that it’s the same browser you are reading this post with.

Sundar Pichai joined Google way back in 2004 where he led the product management team and innovation efforts for a suite of Google search products, like Google Toolbar(remember?), Chrome, Desktop Search, Gadgets, Google Pack, Google Gears, Firefox extensions, apps such as Gmail and Google Maps and Mac products. After the launch of Chrome, Pichai was promoted to Vice President and later to Senior Vice President of Google Chrome and Apps, which includes the Chrome browser and operating system, Gmail, Calendar, Docs, and Drive and also became a member of the exclusive L-team, the small group of executives who report directly to Page.

Sundar Pichai right hand of Larry Page - The Cockroach Theory for Self Development - Bitsnapper

The man behind Google Chrome

Based on how the Google Chrome’s launch went, no one would have predicted that seven years later, Pichai would be where is today—a clear No. 2 to CEO Larry Page following a management shakeup late last year when Android creator Andy Rubin left to begin a secret robotics project within Google and Larry Page put Sundar Pichai in charge of Android as well. This incredibly fast rise of Sundar Pichai piqued my curiosity and while I was reading(researching) about him, I encountered a superb theory he gave in a speech in Google I/O. It’s called “The Cockroach Theory for Self Development“. I would like to share it below in quote, do give it a read, it may change your perspective on a few things in your life….

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 the ladies 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.

Lessons learnt from the story: “Do not react in life. Always respond.

The women reacted, whereas the waiter responded.

Reactions are always instinctive whereas responses are always well thought of, just and right to save a situation from going out of hands, to avoid cracks in relationship, to avoid taking decisions in anger, anxiety, stress or hurry.

Sundar Pichai is born in Tamil Nadu, he did his early schooling from Chennai. He graduated with his Bachelor of Engineering degree from IIT Kharagpur in Metallurgical Engineering. He also holds an M.S. from Stanford University and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Talk about variation in academics? 😛

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