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December 1, 2008
I Made My Pledge
Last year something happened to me at work. Someone upset me, and it put
me in a bad mood. It threw my whole day off course. I was not myself. I
was impatient with others. And it was hard for me to concentrate.
And then suddenly I realized that I had 20 minutes to make a 30-minute
trip to my older daughter’s summer camp. Five-year-old Eliana was
participating in a presentation in front of all the children, counselors
dropped what I was doing, flew out of my office and ran to my car. I
tore out of the parking lot and drove as fast as I could manage, darting
in and out of lanes and rushing through yellow lights turning to red. I
was frustrated each time someone drove slowly in front of me, and when I
had to stop for a red light. And as I drove, I did nothing but stare at
the traffic and look at the clock. And all the while I mumbled, “How
could I be late? How could I be late?”
When I finally arrived at the camp, I had to snake around the busy
parking lot looking for a spot. When I finally found a space, I leapt
out of my car and ran to the auditorium.
When I arrived at the door, someone pointed to where my wife, Dawn, was
sitting with my younger daughter, four-year-old Ariela. I quickly walked
down the aisle to their row. I stepped over and around everyone’s knees
and feet on the way to my seat. And I blocked their view as I passed by.
When I finally made it, I sat down and I looked at my watch. I was nine
minutes late. I leaned over and I kissed Ariela, and I kissed Dawn.
whispered, “I’m sorry.”
leaned back into Dawn and said, “Did I miss anything?”
And Dawn said, “Eliana was just brought on stage to recite the opening
prayer in front of the whole camp.”
“Did she see you?” I said.
“She looked right at us and waved.”
Nine minutes. I sat there thinking, “How could I have missed it? Eliana
looked out and saw her Mom and sister. And I wasn’t there. And for
what?” I just stared straight ahead.
The next day on the way to work, I thought about what had happened. How
could I have missed my daughter’s big moment? And then it hit me. I had
Garbage Truck run right over me and ruin my day.
But worse yet, I became the Garbage Truck. I turned into a Garbage Truck
at work, when I drove aggressively to the presentation, when I left Dawn
and Ariela sitting by themselves, and when I stepped in front of people
in the auditorium. And worst of all, I was a Garbage Truck when I missed
my daughter’s moment in the spotlight.
had taken someone else’s garbage and spread it to others, and to the
people I love the most. I knew about Garbage Trucks, and I became one
knew then that I had to make a pledge to myself. I had to stop accepting
garbage in my life and I had to stop spreading it to others. I could not
be a Garbage Truck. So, I pulled my car to the side of the road, pulled
out a pen, grabbed a piece of paper, and I wrote this pledge.
I do not accept garbage
in my life.
When I see Garbage
I do not take them
I just smile.
I wish them well.
And I move on.
And I do not spread
garbage to others.
I am not a Garbage
I do not accept garbage
in my life.
said my pledge out loud, and I said it over and over again. I put it to
memory. I shared it with Dawn. I shared it with my parents. I shared it
with my friends and I shared it with my team members. I put a copy in my
wallet, in my planner, on my desk and on my office wall.
And then I put The Pledge to work in my life. When I saw a Garbage Truck
coming my way, I would say The Pledge to myself, often in short-hand: “I
am not a Garbage Truck,” or “I do not take them personally,” or “I just
smile, wave, wish them well and I move on.”
And when I would catch myself in a bad mood at work, or at home, I would
repeat: “I do not spread Garbage to others,” or “I am not a Garbage
The more I honored my No Garbage Trucks! Pledge, the happier I became.
Every time I let a Garbage Truck pass me by, and each time I nipped my
own garbage, I achieved greater freedom.
became free to enjoy every day. I became free to love and care about the
people who matter most to me. I became free to focus on what is
important in my life. I became free to live my best possible life.
Last week Eliana had another event at camp. I was there – early.
David J. Pollay’s book,
Beware of Garbage Trucks!™, is due
out this Fall. Mr. Pollay is the creator of
The Law of the Garbage Truck™
(www.bewareofgarbagetrucks.com). He is a syndicated columnist with the
North Star Writers Group,
creator and host of The
Happiness Answer™ DVD, and an
internationally sought after speaker. Mr. Pollay is the
founder and president of the personal coaching and seminar
organization, The Momentum Project (www.themomentumproject.com).
David J. Pollay. Distributed by North Star Writers Group. May not be
republished without permission.
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