The Law of Garbage Truck

Few days back, I received an amazing article over my newsgroup and I could not resist myself sharing it. The fact is we see so many real life experiences pertaining to this situation that it becomes very very difficult to contain orselves against undesirable people and circumstances. In the below article, David cites one incidence of life that transformed his way of thinking and I feel the same applies to each one of us. Personally, I encounter people such as the ones mentioned in the article in my office, in my social gatherings and all around. I, generally, ignore such people completely but it pisses me off when people act very irresponsibly in the volunteer activities.

I was completely influenced by each and every word of David in the article and when I wrote an email seeking permission to publish the content of the below article on my blog, his response was very very humble and encouraging. In fact, we connected each other on a common platform of Software Industry. David is also publishing his book The Law of the Garbage Truck: How to Respond to People Who Dump on You, and How to Stop Dumping on Others, which will be released on October 5.  I am now looking forward to his book eagerly.

So , here goes the article:

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 in your life.

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 very last moment our car stopped just one inch from the other car’s back-end.

I couldn’t believe it. But then I couldn’t believe what happened next. The driver of the other car, the guy who almost caused a big accident, whipped his head around and he started yelling bad words at us. How do I know? Ask any New Yorker, some words in New York come with a special face. And he even threw in a one finger salute! I couldn’t believe it!

But then here’s what really 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 look for 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 their garbage and I’m not going to spread it anymore.”

I began to see Garbage Trucks. Like in the movie “The Sixth Sense,” 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 dump it. And like my taxi driver, I don’t take it personally; I just smile, wave, wish them well, and I move on.

One of my favorite football players of all time was Walter Payton. Every day on the football field, after being tackled, he would jump up as quickly as he hit the ground. He never dwelled on a hit. Payton was ready to make the next play his best. Over the years the best players from around the world in every sport have played this way: Muhammad Ali, Nadia Comaneci, Bjorn Borg, Chris Evert, Michael Jordan, Jackie Robinson, and Pele are just some of those players. And the most inspiring leaders have lived this way: Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King.

See, Roy Baumeister, a psychology researcher from Florida State University, found in his extensive research that you remember bad things more often than good things in your life. You store the bad memories more easily, and you recall them more frequently.

So the odds are against you when a Garbage Truck comes your way. But when you follow The Law of the Garbage Truck, you take back control of
your life. You make room for the good by letting go of the bad.

The best leaders know that they have to be ready for their next meeting. The best sales people know that they have to be ready for their next client. And the best parents know that they have to be ready to greet their children with hugs and kisses, no matter how many garbage trucks they might have faced that day. All of us know that we have to be fully present, and at our best for the people we care about.

The bottom line is that successful people do not let Garbage Trucks take over their lives.

What about you? What would happen in your life, starting today, if you let more garbage trucks pass you by?

Here’s my bet: You’ll be happier.
Source: http://davidjpollay.typepad.com/david_j_pollay/lawofthegarbagetruck.html David J. Pollay is the original author of the Law of Garbage Truck.

Hence, don’t allow anyone to dump his/her garbage on you. You can find hell lot of people around always trying to find a truck to dump their garbage. Don’t you remember when your school teacher would have scolded you of no fault of yours. The same situations can very well be observed from parents at home due to office tensions and the vice versa applies equally well. Beware of your own truck and do inspect what you are carrying and loading onto it. Good Luck and have a meaningful and successful life!!!

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