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 they can get back their 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 w e 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 f ull 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."
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. Payt on 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, don't hold a grudge
against the ones who don't and believe that everything happens for a