''I will live as a writer who keeps alive the music of the language, holds head and heart together in the words, and writes in hope and passion that one person will be better because he or she reads what I wrote'' - The Liz Manifesto

Monday, February 04, 2008


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, for an instant you're probably set back on your heels. 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, and I mean without warning, a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded and missed the other car's back end by just inches.

Here's 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.

Now, here's what 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 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. I guarantee it.

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

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.

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. I guarantee it.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Thanks so much everyone for your enthusiasm and comments!

I work with David J. Pollay, the author of Beware of Garbage Trucks!™ - The Law of the Garbage Truck™. We are excited about the overwhelming response in the online community to David’s The Law of the Garbage Truck™. David has been sharing The Law of the Garbage Truck™ for more than 16 years.

I want to share the good news that The No Garbage Trucks!™ Revolution has an online home at www.bewareofgarbagetrucks.com. I personally invite you to visit the site; you can watch a video of people taking the No Garbage Trucks!™ Pledge with David on the streets of New York City, sign up for our newsletter, comment on our blog, and learn more about David J. Pollay’s larger body of writing.

We would also love to hear your story! We are now collecting stories from people all over the world about how their lives have changed since they began following The Law of the Garbage Truck™, and after they took The No Garbage Trucks!™ Pledge. Some of the stories will be included in David’s upcoming book, The Law of the Garbage Truck™ (summer release), and his television program, The Happiness Answer™. Please send your story to chris@bewareofgarbagetrucks.com.

Thanks again for following The Law of the Garbage Truck™!