My daddy sent this to me in November of 2007. *Yes, I still call him daddy * I’ve received different variations of the story over a couple of times since then, but this was pulled directly from David J. Pollay’s site. I hope that everyone enjoys the story on several different levels a) it’s just an interesting story, b) there’s a life message and c) which I will give after the story.
Written by David J. Pollay
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.
—DAVID J. POLLAY
Ok, so what’s your c)?
When I read the story I get the obvious message, but then I think about a different picture. I don’t know about your life, but 2010 had it good moments and bad. And just like David sited above, I have to “remind” myself about some of the good times, whereas, the bad ones seem to float to the top quite easily.
I’m sure that when David got in the car almost 20 years ago, he simply thought “Let me get from point (a) to point (b).” Once he encountered the “garbage man” in the black car, he initially accepted the load of crap and wanted to throw it right back at him. It was this bad moment that changed David’s life.
What I find even more profound is the significance of the cab driver. We live in a society that uses every form of discrimination possible to discount a person’s worth, whether it be career choice, ethnicity, sex, social standing, age, education, what type of shoes you wear… why did I even start this list? It would go on for days. Many people move through life discounting those they encounter based on the most superficial factors. And while David initially accepted the load of crap and subsequently questioned the cab drivers lack of disdain for the “garbage man”, he didn’t miss the lesson. Many people would have discounted the cab driver’s opinion, I mean really… he was just a cab driver.
Not only did David not discount the cab driver, but he took the crap from the “garbage man”, the wisdom from the cab driver and turned that garbage green. He built a business from it. He does everything from seminars to most recently becoming a published author. So, as you “figure” on what life will bring you during 2011, don’t discount the Garbage Trucks, because that may be your defining moment.
What were your victories during 2010? What are your plans for 2011? Do you breath life into your world or do you redistribute garbage? Do you discount the people you encounter? Do you know of anyone like David? How do you make the most of those bad moments?