The Law of the Garbage Truck

by David J. Pollay's -


“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 taxicab. 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 do not let Garbage Trucks take over your live.


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.”

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  • when it comes to any type of leadership - respect, loyalty and etc  has to be earned Johanna, not given freely just because it's been asked of people. Noticing things and talking about it even as an opinion  is the first small step to be aware about it. Our world and everything in it is not what its seems, and at this moment it's getting more and more obvious, as it's happening all around us. And that's alone may bring not the best in us, however understanding this process will help not to make harsh judgements on others. We are individuals and all of us has personal issues to deal with.

    As to your working environment: look at that as experience, we do attract what we need to learn about ourselves.

  • there is sometimes 'a short revelation moments' ... that comes and goes ;) we all build a resistance of letting go, even if it's not good for us ... as a saying goes: 'better the devil you know' .... however change is an inevitable state for us, the difference is our personal resistance. In my experience if i am reactive i am not in the present, and in some way i am not conscious about the situation ... reaction is more like acting mechanically as reflects based on past experiences ... "bite first and then see" ;)) and unfortunately in this kind of situations the individual perception goes to none. Maybe that's the reason why 'some ancients' were saying:  know yourself.

    The great state eventually will be your past and you will rediscover something even more profound and deep about yourself ... call it an Eternal Life.

  • Johanna ;)

    as many other ancient philosophies teach the same thing,

    but To learn to let go, it is necessary to understand how averse we are to change, and how attached we are to our idea of a solid material world.

    To let go of the ego one must let go of the knowledge, self-importance, self-worth, self-pity and etc. ;)) At times, of course, we do want change, for various and personal reasons. But when we begin to bump up against the fact that no matter what we want or do not want, change just happens, we begin to feel a little uneasy. We feel protective, which puts us in over reactive state/position, but we don’t know of what? We’re not completely sure, but we hang on anyway, struggling to secure our ground, creating layers after layers of something that we don’t know what it is. We are reactive and we dig in our selves even deeper. The greater the threat, the more tightly we hold on. We try to capture something moving and to make it still, so that an experience that has come and gone seems still to exist. Viewing our life as something we can fix and possess, we become completely attached to our mental snapshot of ourselves and equally threatened by its potential loss. We have taken a tiny speck of the vastness of the universe and staked it out as our territory, and now are stuck with protecting it from change.

  • Great story Ara, as usual. In my day I remember it many times and helps me not to react in anger.

    Do you know that in Spanish, Ara is the sacred stone table of a shrine?

    I send you my Love all the time, bella sister.

    • Miriam ... my dear sister, it helps me to be vigilant as well .... good to see you are 'alive' ... ;) How are you doing?

      based on the Greek mythology ara is 'description of the altar' ... so it would makes sense, however i didn't know that it's the same in Spain ... ;) 

      I always receive your Love, Lots of Hugs and Kisses, Blessings and Peace ;)

      • Yesssss, I'm alive and happy to know that it's very close! I don't know what exactly, but is coming soon.

        I sign in from time to time, but I don't forget you.

        Love you very much dear.

  • 8116040683?profile=original

  • ... ;) i wonder how many people follow this?

    • .. good point Ara .. if someone forced me to go one mile, I would probibly look for a cafe onlong the way and stop off for a cup of tea .. especially if it was raining .. but I would not force them to have a cup of tea with me though .. they could have coffee or hot chocolate if they prefer, maybe a snack if they wanted .. I do like to sit by the window in a nice cafe on a rainy day and watch the rain.. but I dont see the point of swapping eyes or teeth?? .. thats just silly ..

      Coffee smileys

  • Love it! Thanks for posting, and so true. :)

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