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Senior Correspondent

Just a tad outside the city limits on a little country road, our yard seems to accumulate litter. People apparently go out of their way to drive by and litter our yard. I used to get all annoyed as I righteously and religiously stomped around collecting other people's trash.

Committing to letting these little things go, I am not so quick to get all riled up about these kinds of things anymore. Instead of indulging in trash talk about the people who have once again trashed our lawn, I find myself wondering what causes a person to roll down his or her window and throw trash out to land wherever.

Does their car become so overloaded with trash that they have no choice but to eliminate some of it on the spot? Do they think their trash is so interesting that other people might enjoy seeing, touching and feeling it? Do they get a buzz from seeing things fly out their window while breaking the litter law? Does the trash get tired of riding around in their stuffy old car and decide to hurl itself out in search of fresh air?  

With these questions and more occupying the bytes of my brain, I considered conducting a survey to satisfy my growing curiosity.  And then synchronicity kicked in and I learned about "The Law of the Garbage Truck: What to Do When People Dump on You." In his new book, David J. Pollay explores what we have in common with garbage trucks and what to do about it. Pollay's mission is to increase happiness, success and civility in the world.
Pollay points out that we likely encounter people every day who are rude, thoughtless, angry and upset. And they are ready to throw their garbage at us. Kersplat! They feel better, and we feel dumped on. We have simply wandered into someone else's bad manners, bad moods or bad habits. But we take it personally, pick it up and haul it around for a while before possibly dumping it onto another unsuspecting friend, colleague or family member. 
Like emotional garbage trucks, we tend to pick up negative feelings put out by others, draining our attention, happiness and productivity. Psychologists have found that the cumulative effects of these seemingly minor annoyances can adversely impact our health and outlook on life. And it isn't just other people who dump emotional garbage on us. We dump it on ourselves when we let memories of past failures or unrealistic worries of future problems ruin our present.

Pollay provides great tips on how to take our garbage trucks off cruise control in his book and on his website.

The Law of the Garbage Truck is picking up traction as people from more than 100 countries take the No Garbage Trucks! pledge. According to the website, the pledge has been translated into 48 languages. Individuals, families, businesses, churches, temples and schools have all taken the pledge, and more are taking it every day.

To build a strong foundation for your best decade yet, consider taking the No Garbage Trucks! pledge and living it.  

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