Q. Nearly every day someone ruins mine. Is this going to happen for the rest of my life?
A. Nearly every day someone ruins yours? Oh my. What an unfortunate way to live! My brain’s opinion is that you decide whether or not someone else is going to ruin your day even one more time, never mind for the rest of your life. By way of explanation, here is an excerpt from “The Law of the Garbage Truck” by David J. Pollay. He says it exquisitely.
“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 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. 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 move on
“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 best guess: you’ll be happier.”