Tuesday, October 2

I received this in an email recently:

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? However, the mark of a successful person is how quickly she can get back her focus on what's important.

Sixteen years ago I learned this lesson. 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 breaks, skidded, and missed the other car's back end by just inches!

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.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 almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!"

And this is when my taxi driver told me what I now call, "The Law of the Garbage Truck." 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. When someone wants to dump on you, don't take it personally. You just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. You'll be happy you did.

So this was it: The "Law of the Garbage Truck."
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, on the streets? It was that day I said, "I'm not going to do 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 drop it off. And like my Taxi Driver, I don't make it a personal thing; I just smile, wave, wish them well, and I move on.

One of my favorite football players of all time, Walter Payton, did this every day on the football field. He would jump up as quickly as he hit the ground after being tackled. He never dwelled on a hit. Payton was ready to make the next play his best. Good leaders know they have to be ready for their next meeting. Good parents know that they have to welcome their children home from school with hugs and kisses. Leaders and parents know that they have to be fully present, and at their best for the people they care about.

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?

Here's my bet. You'll be happier. Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so...
Love the people who treat you right. Forget about the ones who don't. Believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, TAKE IT!

If it changes your life, LET IT! Nobody said it would be easy... They just promised it would be worth it!

26 comments:

Shephard said...

Judy, I love the Garbage Truck metaphor! One of the best I've heard in a long time, and I love that the wisdom came from a taxi driver. Priceless!
~S :)

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

THIS is pretty great, Judy...And so true. Because it is a total waste of energy, isn't it?
A Wise Man Driving A New York City Taxicab. This Is Perfect. There is probably no place in the world where there are more Garbage Trucks than in New York City! This is really wonderful.

Greg Finnegan said...

Judy, I think that you have read The Psychology of Winning by Denis Waitley. (Yes, I spelled it correctly.) If not, you should get a copy (Amazon for about $7), and you will be amazed at how prescient you are!

colleen said...

I love this way of thinking. It rings so true and I think it will stick with me.

So glad you enjoyed the Where I'm From Poem!

rosemary said...

good words...just gotta live them.

raehan said...

It just goes to show you that if you change your attitude it will have a ripple affect.

Great story.

Grannymar said...

Dump all garbage! Great idea.

PI said...

I do try and always give myself a pep talk before driving. I love the puzzled expression when you smile and wave at someone who has been driving atrociously. TE hee!

Elle said...

This reminds me of a news story I heard about the Nickel Mines school shooting...that the Amish community has raised money to help the wife and children of the shooter. And *I* get all bent out of shape if someone takes too long in front of me at the grocery store. So many good lessons out there!

ET said...

I like that outlook.

gemma said...

I'm so glad I stopped in this morning. Your message is gratefully received and I will be thinking about the law for quite some time. Blessings.

Suzz said...

Fabulous! And I'm using it, too!

Cris said...

And I just learned it from you, I read each word of this post, and what a lesson to learn, I will start visualizing this Garbage Truck from now on, and start travelling light... (by the way, Travelling Light is a great book by Max Lucado that I need to read again more focused now on my own load. Thanks so much Judy!

Evil Twin's Wife said...

Thanks for posting this today, Judy. I do try for a positive outlook, but sometimes falter. This was a great reminder! There are a few people I need to pass this onto as well. :-)

Jamie Dawn said...

Great advice! That taxi cab driver was very wise.

I love the pic in your previous post.
An expired parking meter... funny!!

sage said...

Nice story Kenju

Beverly said...

Such a good lesson for us all.

brendalove@gmail.com said...

But is it still okay to road rage occasionally? ;-)

michelle said...

I love this analogy and I really need to start using this cause I am crazy angry girl. Thanks for sharing.

Chancy said...

An absolutely inspired post. thanks

tiff said...

But....

Can I do this only if I don't know them personally? Life would be ever so much better if that were the case. :>

Everyone else kinda gets a pass.

BreadBox said...

That's a lovely post, Judy. Beautiful.

N.

.:mar said...

I love it, very wise!! Thanks for sharing.

Reflekshins said...

you know . . . this is EXACTLY the post i needed to read today.

thank you.

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.

kenju said...

Chris, neither of the links you left here work now.