- Thoughts for inspired living

November 28, 2007


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 9:32 am

I just read an article by Jared Sandberg of the Wall Street Journal. It was a piece on being late.

Sandberg consults a number of people with differing theories as to why this happens. Anthony Warren, a professor of entrepreneurship at Penn State’s Smeal College of Business, deducts points from students who show up late. “It’s an outrageous expression of arrogance,” he says.

The article continues with this:

“Most chronically late people consistently underestimate time by 25 percent to 30 percent”, says Diana DeLonzor, author of Never Be Late Again. “Late people engage in magical thinking,” she says. “They remember that day 10 years ago when they made it to work in seven minutes flat. That becomes their standard.” That explains one of the most baffling types of late people: Those who are routinely late by a precise amount of time — the punctually late.”

I haven’t read Diana’s book but I did notice that one of her 7 types of late people is labeled “The Rebel.” She gives this description: “Resists authority and everyday rules; might run late as a form of control.”

My experience with people who are perpetually late is that there is a common denominator. It is control.

The real issue with these folks is that their life is out of control – meaning they live exclusively in their head. They have a mish mash of loose ends in their mind that continually distract and demean them. They aren’t thinking. Their thoughts are thinking them in a patterned, predictable way. They have this overwhelming feeling that their life is spinning out of control.

Since they can’t figure out how to corral these thoughts and put them in a pen, they attempt to exert control on other people. This gives them, at least for a few brief moments, the sense of control they are looking for in their own life. It also gives them attention* – something they desperately crave but may never directly ask for.

Being late all the time is a great cover. It gets the other people focused on their lateness rather than having them find their closely guarded little secret.

The late person can be labeled any number of ways and they have varying personalities. Some are self-assured on the surface while the constant threat of the wheels coming off is going on inside. Others can appear scatter brained and namby-pamby. They can be downtrodden or wildly successful. Jared Sandberg piece illustrates this very well when he writes:

“The worst late people use time as a weapon. Craig Sparks, a corporate lawyer, used to show up at his client’s office for meetings with accountants, investment bankers and other lawyers. The executive kept them waiting. “He became a braggart about how many dollars he was wasting by keeping us all in the conference room waiting,” says Sparks. “It was really perverse.”

It would be easy to beat up on late people and leave it at that. My sense is these people need a crash course in control. There is no such thing as control.

You will never be able to get control of reality. Reality happens and then we have our spin. Then we go into thinking control mode to keep it from happening again. You have a better chance of eradicating sunrises. Thoughts will pop into your head without an invitation. You cannot control that. What you can do is abbreviate their visit.

What would happen if you interrupted the conversation of a visitor to your home many times throughout the course of the visit? You would throw them off course and the frequency of their soliloquy would decrease, as would the number of their visits.

The same thing happens in your head. Interrupt any thought that is stuck in your mind by noticing that you are having the thought. Don’t judge it or condemn it. Just notice it. This noticing is an interruption. The more often you notice, the less often it comes around. It takes practice and the results will produce less thinking and more space between your thoughts.

This reminder is not only for late people. It’s for all of us. We don’t need control; we need space. By creating space in your mind, you dissolve the illusion of control by calming your mind and leaving room for inspiration and newness to pop in. Who knows, you may become the next best-selling author with your new book, Peace and Punctuality.

All the best,


P. S. *The best way to get attention is to give attention.

Be Sociable, Share!