One of the most rewarding aspects of coaching business leaders is when they seek out wisdom and share their learnings with me. A client was excited to share the following extract he found, which resulted in an “A-ha” moment for him in his personal self-development journey. It resonated with me too, and I thought I would share it with you.

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. He stood firm, composed himself and observed the behaviour of the cockroach on his shirt. When he was confident enough, he grabbed it with his fingers and threw it out of the restaurant.

Was the cockroach responsible for their histrionic behaviour? If so, then why was the waiter not disturbed? He handled it near to perfection, without any chaos.

You see, it is not the cockroach, but the inability of those people to handle the disturbance caused by the cockroach, that disturbed the ladies. In the same way, it is not the shouting of your father or your boss or your wife that disturbs you, but it’s your inability to handle the disturbances caused by their shouting that disturbs you. It’s not the traffic jams on the road that disturbs you, but your inability to handle the disturbance caused by the traffic jam that disturbs you.

More than the problem, it’s your reaction to the problem that creates chaos in your life.

Lessons learnt from the story:

Rather than reacting in life, one should always respond.

The women reacted, whereas the waiter responded. Reactions are always instinctive whereas responses are always well thought of.

A beautiful way to understand life.

The happy person is not because everything is right in his life. He is happy because his attitude towards everything in his life is right!

I will relay this story in my business and leadership coaching sessions and workshops. I encourage you to apply this lesson to things that cause chaos and drama in your business and watch your leadership skills and self-development grow.

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest

Leave a Reply