'Law of the Rubbish truck' is a tip that can help us all get through the day
Mind Your Step
The late great poet and philosopher John O'Donohue asked shortly before he died: "When was the last time you had a life-changing conversation with someone?"
Each of us has two conversations running in our lives most of the time. The first one is the inner conversation, what they call 'self-talk'. The second is the conversations we have with others.
Are these powerful, inspiring, life-changing conversations or are they just the bland meeting the bland?
I was doing a Team Building and Leadership course with a team of eight people recently. Those on the course were very conscious of the twin challenges we face here in Ireland at the moment: obesity and lack of fitness.
Everyone in the room felt that they were overweight and needed to get out running or at least get into the exercise habit.
There was no doubt that none of them were happy with their fitness levels. Being too busy and a low level of constant chronic fatigue seemed to be their constant companions.
As part of the process of embedding the tools of the course I get them to commit to meeting up every Friday for 15 minutes with a supportive partner to review their week in terms of their positive contribution to each other and their written goals.
But this team was different. They also wanted to meet together for another five minutes. One woman offered to bring in weighing scales, to set up a chart and have their own positive good-humoured operation transformation where they weigh-in and share their exercise routines from the week.
Now they're even sharing healthy diets. They are inspiring each other to change. They have the chart on the wall and they can see the improvements each week.
I spoke to one of them recently and she said: "We have all changed and our conversations have changed, both inside and out."
What happens when you have these powerful life-giving, life-changing conversations is that there is no room for negative toxic conversations.
Here's a story a reader sent me that illustrates the impact our inner conversations can have on others.
"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 brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches!
"The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started screaming at us.
"My taxi-driver just smiled and waved at the other man in a really, really friendly way. So I asked, 'Why did you just do that? That man almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital.'
"This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, 'The Law of the Rubbish Truck'.
"He explained that many people are like rubbish trucks. They run around full of rubbish (frustration, anger, disappointment etc). As their rubbish 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 rubbish and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets. Life is 10 per cent what you make it and 90 per cent how you take it.
"Have a rubbish-free day."
If you are part of a work team why don't you have a few fierce and powerful rubbish-free-day conversations and set up your own "operation transformation". The only thing you need to sort out is who's going to bring in the scales?
Health & Living