Review: The Law of the Garbage Truck: How to Stop People from Dumping on You by David J. Pollay

The Law of the Garbage Truck is a book that everyone should read. At some time or other in our lives we have all been affected by or acted as garbage trucks. This is to say someone else has dumped their negativity all over us and we have done the same to others. We may have excuses – “I’m tired”, “They upset me”, “I’m stressed” – but we are still making the choice to negatively affect other people with our mood and behaviour. So how can we stop acting this way and how can we avoid being affected by others when they act and react negatively towards us? We take the No Garbage Trucks! Pledge.

We were not put on earth to carry other people’s negative energy, nor were we created to burden others with ours.

Author David Pollay, an expert in customer service and building team morale within fast growing companies, learned about the Garbage Truck law from a cab driver who gave him sage advice after refusing to get upset after a near car crash: “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.” He knew he had to share this wisdom with others.

I want us to create and sustain a more productive, compassionate, and peaceful world.

The book which aims to explain in further detail how this law can be applied in all areas of our lives is a light and enjoyable read, made up of personal stories, testimonials, workbook exercises, inspiring quotes, psychological studies, educational references and insightful wisdom.

The work here isn’t just to let go of annoyances and grievances that occur when other people dump on us but to let garbage trucks pass us by before we even get caught up with analysing and worrying about them. It is to remain in a good place emotionally and psychologically when we are being driven at and get out of the way so that we don’t then head towards someone else with our own garbage.

The mark of your success is how quickly you can refocus on what’s important in your life.

A key point is that people are not garbage trucks all of the time and that realising this helps us to communicate better with others and speak to the health and wellbeing within them. Steering conversations away from garbage – gossiping, endless tales of woe, commiserations – is helpful for everyone involved and creates healthier relationships and communities.

There is information about what is a healthy amount of worry, how venting can be helpful when done right, how our mindset is essential to our mental and physical health and how letting garbage trucks pass us by can lead to happier, more successful lives at school, work, home and in the wider community.

We must keep our paths clear of unnecessary limitations and not be discouraged by other people’s negative attitudes and actions.

This may all sound like common sense – it is – but that doesn’t mean we are applying it. Reading, re-reading and completing the exercises and quizzes in this book help to make a commitment to living the No Garbage Trucks life.

The Law of the Garbage Truck is an empowering and inspiring read. Our actions have far reaching consequences. Every time we interact with someone else, we have the choice to refuse their garbage and reroute them to a happier destination and not dump our own garbage onto them. In the law of what goes around, comes around, if we keep passing on positivity, respect and maintaining healthy communication then not only does this eventually come full circle, it naturally causes a positive effect on the way.

You have the power. It’s not complex. It’s not a secret, it’s the Law of the Garbage Truck, the law that can make our lives better – and the world a more beautiful place.

Mother Theresa famously advised “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family” because it is in our daily interactions and how we manage them that we make the most change in the world. We get to choose the world we individually inhabit by allowing negativity to pass us by instead of focusing on it, refusing to dwell on what we don’t like until we take our mood out on someone else and sharing helpful information, like the wisdom in this book, so that others understand they also have the choice to feel well despite other people’s moments of negativity.

Abiding by the law of the garbage truck is not just about avoiding other people’s rubbish but taking responsibility for our own. As long as we see that we are all in this together, we will have compassion for those suffering, forgive ourselves and others for mistakes and make a commitment to building a better world based on gratitude, positive focus and health. Any book that espouses these values whilst teaching us how to live happier, better balanced and more successful lives is definitely worth a read.

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