Garbage TruckTHE 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? 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 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
" 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
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. Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets,
so.. Love the people who treat you right and forget about the ones who
I've learned.... That the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.
I've learned.... That when you're in love, it shows.
I've learned.... That just one person saying to me, 'You've made my day!' makes my day.
I've learned.... That having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.
I've learned.... That being kind is more important than being right.
I've learned.... That you should never say no to a gift from a child.
I've learned.... That I can always pray for someone when I don't have the stren gth to help him in some other way.
I've learned.... That no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.
I've learned.... That sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.
I've learned... That simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.
I've learned.... That life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.
I've learned.... That we should be glad God doesn't give us everything we ask for.
I've learned.... That money doesn't buy class.
I've learned.... That it 's those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular
I've learned... That under everyone's hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.
I've learned.... That to ignore the facts does not change the facts.
I've learned.... That when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.
I've learned.... That love, not time, heals all wounds.
I've learned.... That the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.
I've learned.... That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.
I've learned.... That no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.
I've learned... That life is tough, but I'm tougher.
I've learned.... That opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.
I've learned.... That when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.
I've learned.... That I wish I could have told my Mom that I love her one more time before she passed away.
I've learn ed... That one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.
I've learned... That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.
I've learned.... That when your newly born grandchild holds your little finger in his little fist, that you're hooked for life.
I've learned.... That everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it.
I've learned... That the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.