Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Law of the Garbage Truck

A friend sent me this short article and I feel that the message rings true.

Want to Be Happier?
Learn the Law of the Garbage Truck

How often do you let other people’s nonsense change your mood? Do you let a bad driver, rude waiter, curt boss or an insensitive employee ruin your day? Unless you’re the Terminator, you’re probably set back on your heels. However, the mark of your success is how quickly you can refocus on what’s important.

Sixteen years ago I learned this lesson. And I learned it in the back of a New York City taxi cab. Here’s what happened:

I hopped in a taxi, and we took off for Grand Central Station. We were driving in the right lane when all of a sudden a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, the car skidded, the tires squealed and at the last moment the car stopped just one inch from the other car’s back-end.

And what did we see next? The driver of the other car, the guy who almost caused a big accident, whipped his head around and he started swearing at us. How do I know? Ask any New Yorker, some words in New York come with a special face.

And then here’s what blew me away. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was friendly. So, I said, “Why did you just do that!? This guy could have killed us!” And this is when my taxi driver told me what I now call, “The Law of the Garbage Truck™” He said:

Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it. And if you let them, they’ll dump it on you.

So when someone wants to dump on you, don’t take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well and move on. Believe me. You’ll be happier.

So I started thinking, how often do I let Garbage Trucks run right over me? And how often do I take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home or on the street? It was then that I said, “I don’t want the garbage and I’m not going to spread it anymore.”

I began to see Garbage Trucks. Like in the movie “The Sixth Sense,” where the little boy said, “I see Dead People.” Well now “I see Garbage Trucks.” I see the load they’re carrying. I see them coming to drop it off. And like my taxi driver, I don’t take it personally; I just smile, wave, wish them well and move on.

The bottom line is that successful people do not let Garbage Trucks take over their day. What about you? What would happen in your life, starting today, if you let more Garbage Trucks pass you by?

And my taxi driver was right. I am happier.

2 comments:

Chris said...

Thanks so much for posting such fantastic thoughts! I found the original author of this story. His name is David J. Pollay, and he has a huge body of work that I bet you’d be interested in seeing. You can find it at http://www.northstarwriters.com/davidpollay.htm, and http://www.happynews.com/columns/pollay-momentum.htm.

annatham said...

Hi Chris, thanks for the info. I'm not sure if I know you since I wasn't able to trace your email address or profile via Blogger. How did you discover my blog?