The Law Of The Garbage Truck

True commitment begins when we reach the point of not knowing how we can possibly go on … and decide to do it anyway.

It really doesn’t matter if you’re going through good times or bad times … because at all times you have to practice “The Law of the Garbage Truck.” One person put it this way.

He said, “One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his breaks, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy, and I mean he was really friendly.”

“So I asked, ‘Why did you just do that? That guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!'”

“That is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, ‘The Law of the Garbage Truck.’ He explained that 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 need a place to dump it, and sometimes they’ll dump it on you. Don’t take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don’t take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets.”

The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day. Successful people have learned how to stay MOTIVATED … no matter what.

And no one knew that better than Sir Edmund Hillary, the first person to climb Mt. Everest. When asked about his amazing accomplishment, he replied, “You don’t have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things – to compete. You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently MOTIVATED to reach challenging goals.”

So undoubtedly, one of the keys to success is MOTIVATION. That’s why I’ve been speaking about it for the last three decades. People want to know HOW to get it and HOW to keep it. And I’m delighted to say that I’ve uncovered some of the secrets to MOTIVATION.

That’s why my program on “Peak Performance: Motivating the Best in Yourself and Others” continues to be in such demand. People want to know the HOW-TO’s of motivation.

Of course, prior to knowing the HOW-TO’s of motivation, you may be wondering WHAT it is. WHAT are the attributes of motivation?

Well, no one says it better than Scott Anderson and Chip Kudrle, managing partners of the Diamond Performance Group … and incidentally … two of my former students. They have identified the 6 attributes of motivation. And you need to know about them so you’ll know true motivation when you see it.

=> 1. Discipline

As someone so aptly noted, “Spectacular achievement is preceded by unspectacular preparation.” In other words, truly motivated people put in the grunt work before they ever see the great work that comes out of it.

Perhaps you know some fellow coworkers who do just enough to get by. I wouldn’t call that “true” motivation. It’s merely capitulation. They’re capitulating to the possible consequence of losing their job if they don’t do at least a little bit of work.

No, REAL motivation is characterized by discipline. The motivated individual is willing to make short-term sacrifices to meet long-term goals. As 19th century history professor Charles Kendall Adams put it, “No one ever attains very eminent success by simply doing what is required of him; it is the amount and excellence of what is over and above the required that determines the greatness of ultimate distinction.”

=> 2. Determination

Tommy Lasorda, the well-known baseball manager, was constantly emphasizing this characteristic of motivation. He would say, “The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination.”

So would the never-give-up inventor, Thomas Edison. He would tell everyone who would listen, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try one more time.”

Well, my students Anderson and Kudrle have gotten very specific with this attribute as it applies to sales. They’ve found that 92% of salespeople give up after the 4th “no,” but 60% of customers say “no” 4 times before saying “yes.” The truly MOTIVATED salesperson, or any person for that matter, keeps on trying despite the rejections, difficulties and obstacles. And if need be, he keeps on trying different approaches until he achieves his goal.

One caution. You will have failures along the way. But don’t ever tell yourself, “I’m a failure.” You are not defined by an incident or even a habit. As my good friend Dr. Bev Smallwood tells her clients, “You are definitely not a ‘failure,’ UNLESS you bail out, give up, or quit trying.”

With DETERMINATION, the truly motivated person keeps on keeping on. Even though he only lived a mere 33 years, Bruce Lee, the martial artist, actor, and author, exemplified that. He said, “Defeat is a state of mind. No one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as reality. To me, defeat in anything is merely temporary, and its punishment is but an urge for me to greater effort to achieve my goal. Defeat simply tells me that something is wrong in my doing; it is a path leading to success and truth.”

=> 3. Drive

Simply put, drive is what gets you out of bed in the morning and ready to give it your all. Abraham Maslow said that all drives could be placed into five categories.

There are PHYSIOLOGICAL drives such as food and water. You may be driven to get up and go to work so you can feed your family.

Or you may be driven by SAFETY needs. You may seek a job that gives you job security and health care benefits, or you may try to earn enough money so you feel somewhat safe in these challenging economic times.

Once those needs are somewhat satisfied, your drives tend to focus more on LOVE and BELONGING. You work on building a network of caring friends and family members.

Other people are driven by a need for ESTEEM. They need to respect themselves and have others think well of them.

And when all those needs are in pretty good shape, Maslow said you will be driven by SELF-ACTUALIZATION. You will be driven to be the best you can be.

I don’t know which of those five needs DRIVE you, but I do know this. If you’re ever going to be a truly MOTIVATED individual, you’ve got to have some sort of DRIVE. You’ve got to be excited about something. Walter P. Chrysler, one of the original car manufacturers, declared, “I feel sorry for the person who can’t get genuinely excited about his work. Not only will he never be satisfied, but he will never achieve anything worthwhile.”

=> 4. Courage

Going a step further, we find that MOTIVATION is also composed of courage. Anderson and Kudrle say the motivated individual steps outside his comfort zone, bends the rules when necessary, and takes a calculated risk to achieve his goals. And that, in essence, is the very definition of courage.

In a somewhat whimsical way, the educator and diplomat James Bryant Conant said, “Behold the turtle: He only makes progress when he sticks his neck out.”

Any yet, I’ll have to say that a lot of companies are guilty of killing off the courage in their people. They give their people so many rules, regulations, and procedures that the rules become more important than the mission and the courage to pursue that mission.

But not John Manning, the Vice President of the WOW Department at Commerce Bank. He declares, “One way to deliver smart service is to stop doing dumb things. That’s why at Commerce Bank we have a ‘Kill a Stupid Rule’ program. If you identify a rule that prevents you from wowing customers, we’ll pay you fifty bucks.”

If you’re going to be called a truly MOTIVATED individual, you’ve got to have COURAGE. There’s no way around it. Motivation and timidity are incompatible. That’s why management guru Peter Drucker says, “In every success story, you find someone who has made a courageous decision.”

So if you’re wondering why you’re not more successful … or more motivated … maybe it’s time to ask yourself how courageous you are. After all, the difference between a successful person and a failure … often times … is not that one has more talent or better ideas … but the fact that the successful person has the courage to bet on his ideas, take a calculated risk, and act.

=> 5. Investment

Author A. Lou Vickery summarizes this fifth component. He says, “Four short words sum up what has lifted most successful individuals above the crowd: a little bit more. They did all that was expected of them and a little bit more.”

In other words, motivation is present when you’re investing some extra time and effort to complete a job. And motivation is present when you’re investing in your own continuing education to get better and better.

So I totally agree with personal growth expert Brian Tracy when he says, “Commit yourself to lifelong learning. The most valuable asset you’ll ever have is your mind and what you put into it.”

Of course it will take a little extra time and money to do so. But that’s what motivation is all about … having the patience and willingness to do a little bit more. The great Italian artist Michelangelo knew that. He told the world, “Genius is eternal patience.”

And author John C. Maxwell knows that. He writes, “Every worthwhile accomplishment has a price tag attached to it. The question is always whether you are willing to pay the price to attain it – in hard work, sacrifice, patience, faith, and endurance.”

Finally, motivation is composed of…

=> 6. Purpose

In my “Journey to the Extraordinary” program, I tell the participants, “If you know your why, any how is possible.” If you have a clearly articulated purpose for your life … and every part of your life … if you have a reason for what you’re doing and trying to achieve … you won’t have any problem with motivation.

The 19th century American author Washington Irving equated “purpose” with having a “great mind.” In his words, “Great minds have purposes; little minds have wishes. Little minds are subdued by misfortunes; great minds rise above them.”

Purpose gives you stick-to-activity. You see past the daily annoyances and troubling setbacks that stop the average unmotivated person. With purpose you keep your eyes on the big goal and keep moving forward.

That’s why Og Mandino, the author of “The Greatest Salesman in the World” observed, “The victory of success is half won when one gains the habit of setting goals and achieving them. Even the most tedious chore will become endurable as you parade through each day convinced that every task, no matter how menial or boring, brings you closer to achieving your dreams.”

Action:  Now that you know the 6 attributes of true MOTIVATION, score yourself on each of the 6 components using a 1 to 10 scale. The higher your score, the more motivated you are.