Are you ready for a superhero habit that will have a positive impact on every sphere of life? Now this habit I am going to talk about may seem mundane. It may seem trivial. It might be trivial to you but it is not trivial to other people. I am talking about the habit of showing up on time now.
I realize I can be guilty here of some sort of cultural insensitivity other cultures do not tend to care about time as much. And for most of human history, we did not really have a sense of time other than it is daytime and it is nighttime. It is only been the last five hundred years or so where clocks and watches have been so commonplace that the idea of showing up at 9:00 a.m. At sets agreed-upon time became a thing. For most of human history that just wasn’t a thing date like night time but that was about it well things have changed.
Woody Allen once famously said 90% of success is simply showing up and I think what he meant by that also is showing up on time. I put timeliness in the category of a superhero habit because when people have it. It helps every other part of their life. If you do not have it does it mean you are destined for failure but it is a habit that has a negative trickle effect in so many other aspects of life and if you are someone who always shows up on time you may be thinking. (well TJ this is obvious. Yes, it bugs me too. If you are someone who is habitually late. You might be thinking TJ he’s just sounding cranky today. Maybe the cable guy was late for him and he’s going on a rim).
No one’s been late for me lately I am not saying this out of personal irritation. But I do want to talk about the because not all habits are equal some habits are as the saying goes more equal than others which really just means some habits are more important than others. Because they have an impact on so many other spheres in your life. When you show up on time for someone you are telling that person I respect your time. I respect you. I respect you as a human being and whether you realize it or not when you do not show up on time. You are saying the opposite. You are saying my time is more important than your time it is human nature to take offense to that. Why should anyone’s time be more important than your time.
So, it really affects the whole sphere of human relations with family with friends’ romantic partners. It also has a tremendous impact on your professional life, your business life. I can tell you personally when I’ve been in a position to interview applicants for my company and they showed up late just weren’t even considered. Maybe if they said (look I came an hour early and the train was stopped in times square for 45 minutes. There was a bomb.) Threat I apologized for being late I am always early if someone said something like that, I’d make an exception but any time I’ve had people show up late to job interviews there is never an explanation other than oh sorry a lot of traffic today. When has there ever not been a lot of traffic unless you live in a tiny one-horse town?
So, showing up on time is a habit that has a tremendous impact for most people’s careers. It also has a tremendous impact their own finances. I mean if you show up 20 minutes before your plane takes off at the airport and you’ve got to get to Singapore. They are not known that you are on the plane. If it is a domestic flight you’ve got to show up 30 minutes beforehand if it is an international flight certainly an hour sometimes two or three hours in advance and you can give excuses till you are blue in the face. You are not getting on that plane and chances are you have to buy another ticket at full price. So being late can cost you thousands of dollars and if your employer is paying for it. It could even be a factor in being fired. So being late can have a dramatic impact on your finances it can also have a tremendous impact on the sphere of life related to leisure and pleasure and enjoyment.
If you show up to a Broadway play five minutes late. Many times, they just do not let you in until the second act you’ve missed perhaps twenty percent maybe even fifty percent of the whole show not hurting the performers. They are not being distracted now. I am someone who I have plenty of flaws ladies and gentlemen. I am certainly not perfect but I am someone we’re pretty much my whole life it has pained me to be late for anyone. I am typically going to be five minutes early anywhere if I force myself to be late it means I will show up on time. Yet not saying I am a perfect person but it causes me anxiety the way almost nothing else in the world causes anxiety.
If I think I am going to be late for someone to me it is a habit that just reeks of profound rudeness. Because it shows contempt for other people’s time how do you view this? How do you think showing up on time versus being late has an impact on your life? I can tell you when you consistently show up on time virtually nothing bad ever happens to you.
Okay occasionally you have to wait for someone else and then you can occupy yourself by reading an e-book on your cell phone, catching up on some other work, texting a friend every once in a while. Yeah, I’ve shown up at a party if people are still preparing and building things looking at you why did you show up on time but other than that the benefits far outweigh the negatives when it comes to showing up on time. Look at your own physical health if you specifically are always late to an exercise class and you do not get in or you’ve at least missed half the exercise class.
It can have an impact on your ability to exercise. If you are a creator and you work with other collaborators and you are always late, they may create without you they may kick you out of the band for that matter. So, it can impede your ability to create. As well so I just I cannot think of a single sphere of life whether it is your you know your health if you are always late getting to bed if you are always late getting to exercise class. It impedes your health. If you are late to planes and the job interviews it destroys your whole career, your ability to make money. As well it also can impede your ability to create because other people do not want to create with you it can impede your social relations because people do not want to wait for you and think of you as being late and it can impede your own ability to enjoy, relaxation and entertainment because you cannot get to a Broadway.
Show or an opera or any live theater on time every single sphere of life can be affected negatively by one habit of being late. One habit of being on time can solve all those things. Now I do realize there are some people who have different wiring in their brain. I won’t call it a deficiency let’s just say it is something different there are certain types of ADHD where the individual tries as they may simply cannot get there on time and may need specific drugs for it, I am not advocating another a medical doctor. I am not telling you to go get drugs but I realize there are exceptions to the rule but here is what I felt with 99% of the people I’ve ever dealt with who had a habit of being late for me.
They could figure out how to be on time for anything really important to them. I had a good friend many years ago and this person was always late any kind of dinner Saturday night any kind of event any party anything late. But she was the on-air newscaster at 7:25 a.m. Every day on the local ABC affiliate in the town where I lived. It was the other side of town she was never late once for 7:25 on the air.
So, she clearly had the ability to keep the habit of being on time when it was important to her and my own analysis is that 99% of people who are late. I know are habitually late do have that power they have simply decided that they are not going to have that habit they instead are going to embrace the habit of showing up whenever they want to of being late for other people. So, if you are trying to figure out how to improve your life how to use a little bit of energy to have positive ripple effects in every other aspect of your life. I’d be a great place to start is to simply show up on time.