Attitude, A Lesson From a Cockroach

I am always impressed with advice or suggestions if shared with a short story. I also believe when you convey the message to any gathering, with real stories, they will remain in our minds  for a lifetime.

This is a short story  told by Mr. Sundar Pichai, Global Head Google, at a gathering of young talents. When I listened to this speech, I thought of sharing this short story to all, which will help others,  especially young talents, to better understand the word “Attitude”.

What is Attitude?

In psychology, attitude is an expression of favor or disfavor towards a person, place, thing, or event, however the real meaning of attitude is transforming nowadays.

Let’s learn how this cockroach teaches us a new lesson on attitude, as described by Sundar Pichai.

The Cockroach Theory?

One day when Sundar Pichai was sipping a coffee in a restaurant, he saw a cockroach suddenly came flying from outside and entered the restaurant..

The cockroach sat over a lady in that restaurant. When the lady realized that, she suddenly got scared of it and started screaming aloud. She got panicked and started jumping, all of a sudden. Everyone in her group also panicked and moved from that table.

Finally, the lady tried to throw the cockroach out. Now, the cockroach was scared itself and it couldn't find a way to get out of that place. So, it went to another lady and sat over her. The same scene of shouting, screaming, and jumping was happening again.


The waiter of the restaurant came from the crowd and tried to remove the cockroach. Now, the cockroach flew again and sat on the waiter. The waiter was patient and more confident. He stood firm without reacting and observed the movements of the cockroach. He suddenly grabbed it and threw it out of the restaurant.

Sipping his coffee, Sundar Pichai was wondering who was responsible for the entire scene that happened there. Was it the cockroach or the people who reacted badly in that situation. If the problem was with cockroach, how did the waiter not panic and remain calm while handling the cockroach situation?

Finally, he concluded that the real issue was the inability of people to handle the cockroach. This is the way of seeing things and handling them that makes us successful. When you get a disturbance, if you are observing things, you can respond to the problem in a better way. Then only you are in the list of successes.


Sundar Pichai realizsed later that the same thing's happening around us. Each of the individuals is the disturbance to them and each should not react to disturbances. Rather, they should respond to them and handle them in a proper way.

Lesson to Learn

The noise of the horn in traffic, scolding from teachers or parents, or the shouting from a boss, all are a disturbance and we need to learn to handle and respond to these issues in a proper way. Sundar Pichai highlighted, “Reactions are always instinctive whereas responses are always well thought out”. 

Well! The right Attitude will make you a success.