Three woman meet. Yeah, you can guess? Lots of discussions, exchange of news, loads of information. One particular part of their discussion caught my attention. One of the ladies, with a lot of interest, was sharing some interesting facts about cockroach. With a lot of amazement she was telling how a cockroach can run three miles in an hour and can change direction 25 times in a second. A cockroach could live a long time, perhaps a week without its head. There was nonstop excitement in her voice as she continued saying. “A cockroach has amazing adaptability. It can survive in any climate, in any house condition, inside any crack, etc. Its antennae, which rivals NASA’s Global Positioning System, helps it to locate other cockroaches with state of the art precision. Cockroach could be used to place surveillance device in the military installations. In fact, a cockroach can survive even an attack of atomic explosion. “
Suddenly, a cockroach flew from nowhere and sat on there. I wondered if this was the cockroach’s response to all the glory that was spoken about it! She started screaming out of fear. With panic-stricken face and trembling voice, she started doing stationary jumping, with both her hands desperately trying to get rid of the cockroach. Her reaction was contiguous, as everyone in the group got cranky to what was happening. The lady finally managed to push the cockroach on to another lady in the group. Now, it was the turn of the other lady 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 its movement on his shirt. When he was confident enough, he grabbed it with his fingers and threw it out.
Sipping my coffee and watching the amusement,my mind picked up a few thoughts and started wondering, “Was the cockroach responsible for their histrionic behavior? If so, then, why the waiter was not perturbed? He handled it to near 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, “Even in my case then, it is not the shouting of my father or my boss that disturbed me, but it is my ability to handle the disturbance caused by their shouting that disturbs me. It is not the traffic jams on the road that disturbs me, but it is my inability to handle the disturbance caused by the traffic jam that disturbs me. In all, it is not something that disturbs me, but the inability to handle the disturbance caused by that something that disturbs me. More than the problem, it is my reaction to the problem, which hurt me more.”
A natural question popped up in my mind, “Then, how do I outgrow this limitation?”
maybe I should not react, I should always respond. The woman reacted, whereas the waiter responded. Reactions are instinctive, whereas responses are intellectual. Between the stimuli (what happens me) and the response (what happens through me) if there is no gap, it creates reaction. But, between the stimuli and the response, if I use the gap to think and contemplate, then I can respond thoughtfully. :”
“An intelligent person responds; a fool reacts.”