Lessons I Learned From The Garbage Man

Tuesday is trash day here. And it’s an exciting morning at our house. Ever since we moved to this house when Ella was just a year old, we’ve been listening for the trash trucks and running to the window or outside onto the porch to watch the pneumatic arm reach out, grab the garbage can, lift it up and dump it into the truck. It’s pretty darn cute to watch Ella start jumping up and down and yelling, “trash day, trash day,” when she hears the truck coming.

So for the past two years we’ve been watching the same two guys come by our house every Tuesday morning – one for the trash and one for the recycling. And it has been quite interesting to watch how they react to our presence on the front porch watching as they perform their job.

Without fail, one of them always has a big smile when he sees us and waves to us from his truck as he drives by. We send a big smile right back to him and wave hello and goodbye.

The other one, in the two plus years that we’ve been standing out on the porch on Tuesday mornings, has not once acknowledged our presence. He drives by with a bit of a scowl on his face, giving off every appearance that he’s not really enjoying what he’s donig.

And just what does this have to do with personal development? How does the attitude that a garbage man brings to his work provide clues as to how we can improve our lives?

Well here’s the key: The way you do anything is the way you do everything!

Do you think that second garbage man has a good life? Hard to say. But one thing I can say with certainty is that the attitude that he is bringing to his work is present, to some degree, in every area of his life.

In his family he brings that same attitude of “let’s just get this darn thing over with.” To his hobbies and leisure activities he brings some of the “don’t look at me, I’m not enjoying myself,” attitude.

Sure, it may not be as obvious when he’s with his family or when he’s playing soccer, but it’s definitely there. And it most definitely effects the overall quality of his entire life. If he views his work as a chore to be “put up with” and “gotten over with as fast as possible” that is how, to a greater or lesser extent, he views every aspect of his life.

So here’s the lesson we can all take from our friendly neighborhood garbage man:

Take a look at your life and find the area of your life that you LEAST enjoy. Find the area of your life that you feel most frustrated or that, when you’re in it, you can’t wait to be out of it.

Maybe it’s your work. Maybe it’s some aspect of your relationship. Maybe it’s your family of origin. Maybe it’s dealing with your money.

Whatever it is, take some time to observe the attitude that you bring to that particular area of your life. And then ask yourself, “how does this attitude spill over into other areas of my life?”

You might be surprised when you begin to see how the thoughts and feelings present in the “weak link” aspect of your life are carrying over into all areas of your life.

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      5 Responses to “Lessons I Learned From The Garbage Man”

      1. Loving Annie on April 3rd, 2007 11:00 am

        Very thought provoking post, Edward… The aspect of my life — the only part — that I feel frustrated with is my love life…

        But I am sure that my years of dreams-not-coming true has given me an ‘attitude’ that wasn’t present when I was 18 and hopeful !

        Thank you for bringing that to my atttention !

        In all else, I am grateful and life flows well…

      2. Ms. Q on April 5th, 2007 2:34 pm

        I’m always trying to work on my attitude (be positive, manifesting, intending…) but I hadn’t thought about how an unhappy area of my life can cast a deeper shade than I may be aware of.

        Loving Annie’s comment about “years of dreams-not-coming true” affecting her attitude rang true for me, too!

        I have a few areas of frustration in my life and I’m working on either figuring out the cause or figuring out how to change myself so that I can either leave the cause of frustration or not be frustrated by it.

        I hope that made sense!

      3. Renee on April 6th, 2007 9:40 am

        My kids do the same thing. They LOVE to watch the truck. But around here, the people never even get out of the truck. They drive around as solitary entities and don’t interact, nor probably even notice the interest of the world around them. I’d never even thought about that until now. Maybe next week we’ll meet them at the curb and see what happens….

        WEAR the Law of Attraction
        http://www.manifes-t.com

      4. Shama Hyder on April 6th, 2007 2:59 pm

        Fantastic observations Ed. Attitude really does make us or break us!

      5. Self Improvement and Law of Attraction Link Love, Volume 9 : Today is that Day on April 7th, 2007 1:51 pm

        […] 3)  Evolving Times – Edward Mills and his daughter bring us a valuable lesson not just about having the right attitude at work, but about how doing so will very likely help you when you are NOT at work as well. Check out Lessons I Learned From The Garbage Man. […]

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