Home Book Review Living the Law of the Garbage Truck

Living the Law of the Garbage Truck

by Vidya Sury August 30, 2013 27 comments
the law of the garbage truck

I just had to share this today.  I was going through my digital library, looking for a book when I came across the fabulous “The Law of the Garbage Truck” by David J Pollay and instantly got distracted in a very pleasant way. I first got this book three years ago, courtesy a friend and have gone back to read parts of it from time to time. So today, I realized I hadn’t opened this book in a year or so and it was like meeting an old friend. An encouraging friend, a loving friend who cares.

I thought, rather than actually describe the book, I’d share my favorite part from the book that relates to…

living the law of the garbage truck

Let me quickly tell you what the law of the garbage truck is all about. It is a philosophy and a way of life.  To quote the author  David Pollay, the premise of this philosophy is this:

By refusing to let others dump their “garbage” (negativity, anger, resentment) on us and letting it “pass by” instead—we become happier and more successful, both personally and professionally. And when we stop dumping garbage on others, we improve our relationships, strengthen our businesses, and bring our communities together.

Ever since I first read the book, I’ve tried my best to practice this philosophy and am enjoying the benefits.  It came to me at the right time, soon after I lost my Mother in 2010. It helped me calm down, relate better with people and feel more serene.  Just takes a shift in perspective, you know.  I tend to be a naturally cheerful person and this book has simply made my life even better.

The Law of the Garbage Truck BookThe first step in The Law of the Garbage Truck journey is to learn how not to accept garbage in your life. This is important as it is the first step to transforming your life.  As with all credos, to actually enjoy happiness, success and good relationships, it takes effort. To facilitate this, the Law of the Garbage Truck has eight commitments. They are:

1. Do let Garbage Trucks pass you by (Don’t let others dump on you)

You do not have to be burdened by negative things you cannot control. You are free to focus on what matters.

2. Do let your own Garbage Trucks pass you by (Don’t dump on yourself)

Bad memories of your past do not have to weigh you down, and you do not have to be limited by your own negative projections of the future.

3. Do avoid becoming someone else’s Garbage Truck (Don’t dump on others)

Your response to people who dump on you does not have to be vengeful and judgmental. Instead, you can give people a chance, stop baiting them, and be more forgiving.

4. Do help the Garbage Trucks you can (Help others stop dumping)

You acknowledge and celebrate the best in others. You seek opportunities to communicate effectively with everyone.

5. Do honor your No Garbage Trucks! Pledge™

You do not have to accept garbage and you do not need to spread it. You are not a Garbage Truck.

6. Do live in The Gratitude Cycle™ and live free of The Garbage Cycle™

Invest your energy in living a good and meaningful life. By choosing gratitude, not garbage, you help make the world a better place for everyone.

7. Do live in a No Garbage Trucks! Zone™

Let everyone know you are committed to living in The Gratitude Cycle and outside the grip of Garbage Trucks. People will know where you stand: You live in a No Garbage Trucks! Zone.

8. Do work in a No Garbage Trucks! Zone™

By giving your best and expecting the best from others, you contribute to an environment that allows people to enjoy their work, use their strengths, and feel what they do is meaningful.

I took the No Garbage Trucks Pledge! You can too:

Pledge The law of the garbage truck

Ready to take the Pledge?

When you take The Pledge and honor it,

  • You no longer take personally the negative things you cannot control
  • You take greater responsibility for the things you can.
  • Each time you let a Garbage Truck pass you by, you take control of your life.
  • Each time you stop dumping garbage on other people, you change the world.
  • You will stay centered on the good, positive and important in your life and let go of the negative you cannot control

I feel very good about sharing this here today!

If wisdom were offered me with the proviso that I should keep it shut up and refrain from declaring it, I should refuse. There’s no delight in owning anything unshared.

If you enjoyed the 8 commitments of the Law of the Garbage Truck visit David Pollay’s site and check out the Resources – there are some great downloads there.

Take control of your life. Don’t let other people’s bad behavior hold you back.

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Philip V Ariel August 30, 2013 at 1:18 am

Very interesting post.
Philip V Ariel recently posted…Teenagers, Facebook and Self-esteem

Elle August 30, 2013 at 2:01 am

I’ve never heard of this book before Vidya. But it’s fabulous. What a great idea the garbage truck pledge…yep I’m willing.
Elle recently posted…How To Tame Your Unruly Negative Beliefs

Mary Stephenson August 30, 2013 at 4:42 am

Hi Vidya

I did not expect this to be a title of a book! I thought you might be talking about garbage day and how we have to set our garbage out or it don’t get picked up.

On my walk each day we have come across this very negative man, whom we no longer engage in conversation with. Another person we talked to has the same thing to say about him. Can’t help people that would rather be immersed in self pity instead of doing something about it. I would say “oh, here comes Mr. Negative”. This had become quite draining so I decided to change it to “Mr. Happy”. It has not changed him but it has changed the energy field around me. So I suppose that would be the same as getting rid of garbage.

Just the presence of someone with negative energy can rob the good feelings. He will continue to walk back and forth everyday hating his wife who left him and took his business, he could get help but in his mind he is powerless. So instead he will age quickly and die before his time, it is pathetic but he won’t listen to anyone on how he could change things for free. Cannot make him my problem since he never takes our advice.

Over the years I have had to learn how to let go of other people’s problems, as they are not mine and do not affect me personally.

Great post and sounds like a really good book.

Mary Stephenson recently posted…The Power of Questions

Julie Barrett August 30, 2013 at 5:27 am

Vidya, I love this, and such perfect timing! You know I started my job in such a cheerful place, letting no one get me to engage in nonsense and negative talk…and now not even two months in I’d like to turn the whole bunch in to the Gossip Police. It’s tough to maintain my attitude in the face of this but I WILL. Thank you for being one of the places I know I can always come at the end of the day to get a smile and a reminder of who I wish to be in the world 🙂
Julie Barrett recently posted…Near Death Experiences and Life Saving Angels

Kajal Kapur August 30, 2013 at 6:29 am

This post came to me at a time when I could relate to it pretty well. Okay this what I have to say today:

Just yesterday, I met with someone who is going through a bad patch in her life, something which I have faced somewhere in life too and I managed to share my experience with her so that she can take cues from it. Now, not that I wanted to shrug off the ‘friendship’ tag but I wanted to explain that things can get better when they should. If we keep lying in our poop, we will keep stinking forever. I finally managed to tell her ‘No one comes to sort our lives for us, if we don’t make a start’. I told her that I can help but I can’t shape her life for her, she would have to do it herself. That I guess, I learnt very bitterly but this lesson stays with me now. I shared that with her how once we take control of our life, things start working the way we want them to. Its a slow process though.

So the below pledge really works for me, and I had’nt heard of the book before: I guess, I somehow just knew.

“You no longer take personally the negative things you cannot control
You take greater responsibility for the things you can.
Each time you let a Garbage Truck pass you by, you take control of your life.
Each time you stop dumping garbage on other people, you change the world.
You will stay centered on the good, positive and important in your life and let go of the negative you cannot control”

Thanks for this post, Vidya. Its perfect advice.
Kajal Kapur recently posted…Movie Review : Madras Cafe

Gary the dude. August 30, 2013 at 8:18 am

Hey Vidya,

First of all, may I have extra cookies for commenting at almost four in the morning? Thank you.

Ah yes, the analogy of using a garbage truck. The stuff alluded to here, is basically how I live my life. I’m not talking garbage and I ‘refuse’, to allow those who would try to create a negative environment, sabotage my right to a peaceful, positive life. Positivity breeds positivity. This is what I embrace.

I know of choices. I choose to live life with realistic positive anticipation, rather than negative speculation.

What an excellent post. Or as Penny the Jack Russell would say, a “pawsitive pawsting”! 🙂

In kindness and goodwill,

Gary the dude. recently posted…You Can Count On Words.

Vidya Sury August 30, 2013 at 8:33 am

Gary, not just cookies. You also get to choose the beverage of your choice. 4 am? Hmm – I can recognize competition when I see it 😀

It took me a while to actually practice what I read. Not that I accepted garbage, but I simply had to learn to say No. Truly, this book has literally shown me the light. Sometimes it takes a nudge at the right time in the right mental place.

Gary, please let Pawsitive Penny know I am a permanent fan. And you are a shining example of positivity breeds positivity. 🙂

Blessed to know you.

(This commentluv thingy is giving me some grief, so all comments, the ones that really matter go into spam. So sorry about that!)
Vidya Sury recently posted…Keeping My Balance Finding Inspiration in Unlikely Places

Gary the dude. August 30, 2013 at 8:22 am

I left a nice, long comment here, Vidya. It seems to have vanished. Yikes, enough. I’m sure something positive will come of this.

Gary 🙂
Gary the dude. recently posted…You Can Count On Words.

Aditi August 30, 2013 at 11:04 am

Thank you so much for this Vidya. I try to follow these rules personally…but sometimes you just need a reminder such as this! And the ‘Garbage truck’ analogy used really hits you…imagine someone dumping this on you…the stench n filth!!
But following these takes some real effort and will power…to say no to such people n stay away from them and also to train your mind to shift/ replace negative thoughts by positive. I always say YOU are the creator of your life…so don’t let anyone dump their garbage on you!
Aditi recently posted…Note to Self

Rachna August 30, 2013 at 11:19 am

Vidya, Thank you for sharing this. I take the pledge. I will try to honor it to the best of my abilities.
Rachna recently posted…Games words play!

Corinne Rodrigues August 30, 2013 at 5:04 pm

You were right – absolutely love this!! I had read about the garbage truck, but didn’t know the details. It’s absolutely fantastic. I’m going to create a poster with this to put on pin up board in front of my desk!
Corinne Rodrigues recently posted…I’m Not Cheese

Vidya Sury August 30, 2013 at 5:11 pm

🙂 It is lovely, isn’t it? In my view, if there is one manifesto we must follow for life, it is this one. Do check out David’s site, Corinne. There are some amazing downloads there – including the 8 commitments in the form of pdf files. The worksheets are excellent, too.

🙂 I am very glad you enjoyed this, though I knew you would!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Keeping My Balance Finding Inspiration in Unlikely Places

Kaarina Dillabough August 30, 2013 at 7:01 pm

No garbage trucks here 🙂 Cheers! Kaarina
Kaarina Dillabough recently posted…Creating a Culture of Respect in the Workplace (and perhaps the world)

richmiraclefiles August 30, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Hi Vidya,
Your post reflects the interpersonal transactions that humans exchange,and inevitably repeat similar patterns regardless of culture or continent.We humans are almost hardwired to pick out the negative,the wrongs, the differences;and hence the cribbing and complaining.This happens until we decide to let go of our instinctive attitudes.Then only do we begin to evolve.
There is a popular story about the kindly Buddha.Once when the saint was delivering a sermon,one man arose from among the thong of enraptured followers and let lose a vituperative tirade.He abused the Buddha in the choicest epithets of the day.Naturally the indignant followers instantly wanted to mow down the odd man-physically.But the Buddha remained calm,silent,and smiling.He restrained his audience from any impulse of violence.The Buddha displayed wisdom only peculiar to him, “this man is not abusing me.He is only expressing himself.That is the only way he knows of expressing,and he is doing so because he is chained by his karma.So do not harm him.I have not accepted what he has offered”.And so the incident passed off.
Well what we see today ,and will continue to do so in future as well is that people will unwittingly play out their Karmic indoctrination.We can leave others to their devices calmly without any personal agitation.
Equanimity is the secret.
richmiraclefiles recently posted…Others Don’t Have To Be Just Like Me Before I Can Accept Them

Deeba Rajpal (@vindee) August 30, 2013 at 8:15 pm

No garbage trucks for me…nice post! Loved reading it Vidya!
Deeba Rajpal (@vindee) recently posted…Baking | Baked Dark Chocolate Mousse … rich, intense, indulgent {Guest post for Cookaroo}

Victor August 30, 2013 at 10:01 pm


I am intrigued! I am going to get this book. Thanks for sharing! I love the pledge too! Have a wonderful day!

Victor recently posted…Turning Judgment and Criticism into “Please” | VictorSchueller.com

sangeeta khanna August 30, 2013 at 10:51 pm

Such a nice post. I have been exposed to many such garbage trucks, of others and of my own and eventually came out of it all. I can analyse better when I look back. Thanks to Corinne’s share I came to read this 🙂
sangeeta khanna recently posted…green mung beans soups : two recipes from two different kitchens ..

Swapna August 31, 2013 at 12:39 am

I have always believed in not letting yourself become a garbage truck. Even in the matter of eating food we are taught that if kids/husbands are not finishing their food moms should eat the leftovers. Why? Why do we need to treat ourself as a garbage truck. Nothing but the best for me cos I value myself too. Will try to get this book for sure. Great post Vidya!
Swapna recently posted…Wall Shelves for Kids Room from Lakdi ki Kathi {Review}

ruchira August 31, 2013 at 2:06 am

Love the quotes and its interpretations.

Great review, Vidya 🙂
ruchira recently posted…Independence is a sham

ruchira August 31, 2013 at 2:11 am

I thought I commented…did not see my comment after clicking submit.

anyways..loved the review Vidya.
Those quotations were very inspiring.

Will look in depth in this book since it sure can be invigorating to have such a book near you when some people tend to use you as a dumpster 😉

ruchira recently posted…Independence is a sham

My Inner Chick August 31, 2013 at 3:37 am

I feel like that garbage truck!

…but at least I’m aware of it. 🙂

I love you more than white tigers drinking water from Lake Victoria. Xxx
My Inner Chick recently posted…A Room Of My Own & Other Groovy Stuff

Priti Singh August 31, 2013 at 4:00 am

Completely agree with all the points mentioned and strongly believe “never dump yourself”. thanks for sharing wonderful things which can transform our lives!

Bindu August 31, 2013 at 6:13 am

Absolutely loved it, Vidya! Sounds so simple, maybe difficult to put in practice initially, but once you’ve done the amount of positivity that can come into your life can be incredible

Rekha August 31, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Have read about this before, but loved reading it in your words. I take the pledge too. 🙂
And Vidyaji, my happiness jar finally got a chit from my hubby this morning. It really made me happy. Thank you! 🙂
Rekha recently posted…Day 31 – Dangerous

Joy September 1, 2013 at 2:36 am

I like it! The life-changing practice I began oh, only a little over a year ago–was this “not a garbage dump” policy…if only I had known earlier! *grin* but now, we (the kids and I) happily wave as the garbage trucks pass on by….Sounds like an interesting read – insights in a way many can receive and process! Thank you, Vidya!

Priya September 2, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Love the idea and totally agree. I really like the second point “Do let your own Garbage Trucks pass you by (Don’t dump on yourself)”. It so often happens that we keep bothering ourselves for something someone else did. It is best to forget and move on.
Priya recently posted…Creative Popsicle Flash Cards to teach alphabet to pre-schoolers

Vinay Goyal September 20, 2013 at 7:41 am

Great idea, connects immediately, expressed so appropriately!


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