Martial arts have definitely had a big effect on my punctuality.
I have seen it from both angles – as an instructor and as a student. Besides the punishment that was meted out for late coming as a student, the sheer discomfort of everybody looking at you with such disapproval was enough to force me to make an effort to be on time. From an instructor’s perspective, late comers disrupt the class and break the thought pattern of both the students and the instructor.
Students who are constantly late are either extremely selfish or have a need for gaining attention. What they should realize is that the attention they are getting is very negative and filled with anger and contempt. But then again, maybe some people are so screwed up that they feel any attention they get is great.
When students are consistently late for class, I make no extra effort with them. I let them train in the class but don’t take them very seriously. How can I when they obviously don’t take me, their fellow students or the class seriously enough to show up on time? Not in all cases, but I generally find that constant late comers have a particular arrogance about them.
Punctuality is one of the most important skills a person can learn. Yes! I do consider it to be a skill. It is a skill reserved for the considerate, the organized and the disciplined. In my opinion stealing a person’s time is just as bad as stealing their money or possessions.
Punctuality can tell us a lot about a person’s character. It is like reading a fortune. There are many assumptions that can be made when a person is always late, and most of these assumptions turn out to be true. It can be argued that unpunctual people are rude, self-important, selfish, inconsiderate, disorganized, unreliable, untrustworthy, lying thieves.
Now, this is the part where all of the late comers take offense and start to defend themselves. Because they’re different! With them it really is unavoidable.
Unfortunately, I disagree! This is an argument I have had with many people over the years – friends, family, students and acquaintances. When this topic comes up many people feel that they are being attacked and try to defend themselves or justify their actions. If they really believed they were in the right, then why take offense?
I find that the busiest people are actually the most punctual because they understand the importance of time – their time and your time. They understand the importance of planning – they don’t just “wing it”. They are concerned about how their late coming can affect your day and their own.
Late comers are always rushed. A rushed person is an unprepared and disorganized person. They are flushed when arriving at training and meetings and can easily destroy business and personal relationships. They are unreliable and cannot be entrusted with great tasks. People who are able to disregard the importance of your time are likely to disregard you in any number of other ways.
Very often punctuality comes down to priority. A selfish person puts everything in their own lives ahead of everybody else’s no matter if they have made a commitment to you or not. If I am not a high enough priority for timely arrival at a scheduled meeting, then you can be rest assured that it is highly unlikely for me to think of you in a good light. I will never be able to rely on you for the big things because big things take planning. Tardy people are bad planners and therefore unreliable.
When it comes to business meetings or social engagements being even a minute late causes me undue stress. Sometimes it is arranged to go along to an engagement with somebody else and, over the years, I have learned to accept that when this happens I am just about guaranteed to be late.
Here are a couple of examples:
1.“Pick me up at 7. We can go through together.”
Only to get there at 7 and spend the next half hour waiting on the couch for the other person to get ready.
2.“Let’s go through together. I’ll pick you up”
“Okay. When are you going to get here? ”
“But we’re supposed to be there at 7:15”
“Fine, I’ll just go on my own” (Sulking)
For some reason unpunctual people want company. It almost makes them feel ok about being late. As if it should be accepted because it’s not only them.
Tardy people need to get a bit of consideration and be real with themselves. Don’t make promises you can’t keep – being late is breaking a promise, after all. And if it turns out you really cannot make a meeting, let the other party know well in advance. There are few things more annoying than taking time out of your day, traveling somewhere and at the time of your appointment getting a call to say, “I can’t make it.” I don’t know about you but that is a sure fire way to get into my bad book. I’ll NEVER make an effort to meet you anywhere again.
Oh, and dare you be late when a tardy person wants you to be somewhere on time! They will have no qualms in telling you how they feel. Again, it is their selfishness and self-importance that comes to the fore-front.
And if you leave when a tardy person is late? Of course it is you that is the one in the wrong. How could you have wasted their time?
There are times in life when we do need to put ourselves first, but not at the expense of other people. Other people’s time is a precious commodity – it should be common courtesy and decency to take it into consideration.
Here are a couple of articles about punctuality that are worth a read:
Some pointers on becoming punctual
The importance of being punctual
“I could never think well of a man’s intellectual or moral character, if he was habitually unfaithful to his appointments.” – Nathaniel Emmons
The while we keep a man waiting, he reflects on our shortcomings. – French proverb
“Method and punctuality are so little natural to man that where they exist they are commonly the effect of education or discipline.” – William Benton Clulow
“Few things tend more to alienate friendship than a want of punctuality in our engagements. I have known the breach of a promise to dine or sup to break up more than one intimacy.” – William Hazlett