“I’m late,” she said as she walked into the room looking at the calendar on her phone.
“Sorry guys, I’m late,” he slouched into the boardroom meeting head bowed in shame looking at the carpet pattern.
“Hey! There he is. Don’t worry James, we expect you to be Late”
Each one of these situations conjure up different emotions for me. Spending 12 years in the military, it was drilled into my head that if you’re not 10 minutes early, you’re late. But have you ever wondered why being late has such a negative connotation?
We all have life problems, traffic, and unforeseen events that cause us to be late, so why does that word drive a negative emotion even when the results can be positive? Since I left the military, I have an incredibly hard time being late. When I am late, feelings of frustration and anger are just below the surface.
My take on being late
One of the most challenging human behaviors that I struggle with accepting in others is selfishness. No, I am not completely selfless, but seeing the first-hand effect that selfishness can have on a life absolutely drives me crazy. Even when I am selfish myself, I later berate myself for making that poor choice.
This is where I think being habitually late comes in. Now please, don’t hang me out to dry just yet. I completely understand that on occasion everyone is late to something. After all, like I said, life happens. I am speaking to the individuals that have made is a habit of being late. Make up all the excuses you want, but at some point it is no longer traffic’s fault.
When we are late to an event, meeting or to work, we are making the public declaration that something in our life is more important than the situation at hand. Already making up excuses in your head on why you are habitually late, sorry, then I am talking to you.
Recognize the heroes
I will never forget the day I was sitting in a meeting with one of the vice-presidents of a company I worked for. This meeting was a big deal and it was made known we were to be on time. Sure enough, after the meeting started, the usual late suspects arrived one after another. Each with their own demeanor would walk into the room and take their place. To each of their credit, no one made a scene about being late.
But here is what blew my mind; neither did the speaker. See when we arrive late to an event, we are potentially robbing the attendees of the benefits of the situation. But when the leader or speaker calls their late arrival to the attention of everyone, they have just exasperated the selfish act.
What it boils down to men, is that we are to be examples to those around us. If you truly believe that we are called to make a difference then we must put away selfish tendencies. Yes, this might create more work on the planning side, but would you rather spend a few minutes a day ensuring you arrive to your obligations on time, or create a reputation of a selfish and tardy man. I vote for the former.
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