I am constantly amazed at the way garbage can accumulate in a house or in an office! It seems as though manufacturers are packaging every product with more and more care these days. I appreciate the safety concerns, but it always ends up being additional garbage to have to discard. It seems like more and more garbage is trying to work its way into my life each day! And, while it is okay to let your garbage can fill up with all of this excess wrappings and trash, it is not okay to allow additional garbage to be dumped right into your life everyday. If you are not careful other people will dump their personal garbage right into your mind on a daily basis! Let me explain.
How often do we let other people’s actions change our mood? It usually just takes one or two people in the morning who are in a bad mood, to affect our own mood. If you stop and think about it, why would we let a rude driver, an unkind waiter, a sarcastic boss, or an insensitive fellow employee ruin our day? All of us are human and the challenges that we face from other people sometimes set us back and put us in a place that is difficult or uncomfortable. That is normal. However, I have come to see that the real mark of successful people is that they do not let everyone else’s problems get dumped on them and ruin their day. The secret lies in quickly getting your focus and attention back on what is important in your own life and relationships.
My friends know that I collect stories so not long ago someone sent me this one.
Five years ago I learned this lesson in the back of a taxi cab in Indianapolis. Here’s what happened:
I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly 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 by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was really friendly.
So I asked, “Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!” This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, “The Law of the Garbage Truck.” He explained, “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 sometimes they will dump it on you. Don’t take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don’t take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets.”
The cab driver concluded the story, “The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day. Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so – love the people who treat you right. Pray for the ones who don’t.”
What a great story. But, better than being a great story, it really is the truth! I can promise you that within the next twenty-four hours, someone will want to use you as their garbage dump. Refuse to do it! It may shock you for a few seconds to realize that they would be willing to put that kind of poison and trash on your life, but simply shake it off and step aside. Remember to keep your focus on your own mental and emotional well-being. Life is too short to let everyone dump their “trash” on top of you. We must be careful not to simply stand there and take it. Simply smile and say, “I just remembered I have somewhere else I need to go!” (It is the truth – it is away from them!)
It also goes without saying that we should never be the ones to dump our garbage on other people either. If it is necessary to talk with someone about a serious problem or an important concern, then find a professional counselor and let them help with the issues at hand. It does no one any good to have the toxic waste of life dumped on them.
Look for a new way to view what is taking place in your life and develop it into a success story that will bless your personal life and that of those around you. Keep taking your real trash to the trash can and keep the other garbage out of your life!
Tip: Refuse to be the garbage dump!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm