Let me start this article by a story that was narrated by David J. Polay and this story became so popular that he eventually wrote a book titled: “The Law of the Garbage Truck.”
The story in the words of David, “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 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. And he even threw in a one finger salute! I couldn’t believe it!
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.”
So in fact, people give to others what they have. If some people have a lot of garbage in their head in the form of abuses, anger, hatred, jealousy, animosity or frustration, that is what they will dump on others. So if someone speaks ill about you and showers abuses on you, just think that her/his head is full of these abuses only and so s/he can give you only this. This understanding alone will change the way you will react now. You may just smile at him/her without losing your temper and refuse to take what s/he is trying to give you.
If you fill your mind with positivity and try to make humbleness, politeness, decency, modesty, courtesy, love and respect for others as part of your personality, then you will always demonstrate a decorum full of affection and admiration for others. You exhibit such gentlemanly qualities of graciousness, generosity and cordiality because you possess them in abundance and you pour them on anyone who comes across you.
It is a fact of life that you give to others what you have. You can’t give to others what you don’t have. A teacher has the knowledge and he gives that to his pupils. I have a doctor friend and he gives me some vitamins and other general tablets for me, my wife and my mother whenever I meet him in addition to a lot of advice for good health. You sit at the feet of your guru or your parents and you will get the wisdom of the experience of their lives that they have gained over a large number of years in addition to their blessings. Now as an author, whenever I come across anyone and I feel that I must give him something that should be beneficial for him, I present him my book.
So whenever, someone gives you the good things of life that you cherish while receiving and it creates happiness in your mind, just grab it with both hands and absorb that fully in your mind and you shall be able to pass on the same to others multiplied by many more times. But whenever, anyone hurls abuses or curses at you that obviously nobody likes, just become opaque and don’t let even a small percentage of that to enter your mind. Just refuse to accept even an iota of that. Let not others decide your behaviour. It is you who should have full control on your behaviour.
Your behaviour should never be a reaction to what someone else has done or said. You may respond to the actions of others after a quick but a thorough analysis. Immediate reactions normally lead to problems. Well thought out response makes us more responsible. So spend time with good people. Observe them minutely. Accummulate good thoughts and good habits from such noble souls. Read good books. Watch good movies. This will increase your stock of goodness and decency and then that is what you will give to others because you can give only that, what you have.