Alternative MethodsConventional Methods


March 29

Psychologists Say: People Who Are Always Late Are More Successful and Live Longer

Timothy Goodman
Core Spirit member since Dec 24, 2020
Reading time 3 min.

You’re thinking of someone, aren’t you? Maybe it’s your best friend who just can’t get anywhere on time – or maybe it’s you. Regardless this is good news for people with bad timekeeping everywhere. Sure, you may occasionally/always be late, however there are positive personality traits that may just be a saving grace.

People who are late have a greater inability to feel stressed, leading to health benefits, but also think outside the box and look at the bigger picture. All of these things lead to greater success at work, alongside a longer life.

Being late is strongly associated to optimism

In DeLonzor’s book , she says: “Many late people tend to be both optimistic and unrealistic, she said, and this affects their perception of time. They really believe they can go for a run, pick up their clothes at the dry cleaners, buy groceries and drop off the kids at school in an hour.

“They remember that single shining day 10 years ago when they really did all those things in 60 minutes flat, and forget all the other times that everything took much, much longer.”

This positivity also makes you more likely to be successful

In a study of salesmen carried out by Metropolitan Life, “consultants who scored in the top 10 per cent for optimism sold 88 per cent more than those ranked in the most pessimistic 10 per cent”. Their performance is better because their outlook is better.

They have higher levels of enthusiasm

Those who are often late or disorganised fall into the ‘Enthusiast’ category. The weaknesses include being ‘over-extended, scattered and undisciplined,‘ however the positive qualities include being ‘extroverted, spontaneous, high-spirited and playful’.

Their passing of time actually feels different

A study was carried out by Jeff Conte, an associate psychology professor at San Diego State University. Researchers carried out an experiment of A type (competitive, impatient) and B type (relaxed, creative) personalities – of which late people fall into the B category. They asked people from both groups to guess, after one minute, how much time had passed. Those in the A type category answered on average 58 seconds, whereas B types answered 77 seconds. They literally perceive time as longer that it really is.

“So if you have an 18-second gap… that difference can add up over time,” Conte told Sumathi Reddy of the Wall Street Journal.

And multitaskers also perceive time more slowly

He assessed 181 subway operators in New York and found that those who often multitasked tended to be late more often than others.

They are often completely engrossed in what they are doing, causing them to lose track if time

Think of your favourite friend who’s always late. Do they have interest in a lot of people, and try to take on one too many hobbies? As Lifehack.org says people are often late because they have been “engrossed in another activity that is fascinating or wildly interesting” which has put them in “another zone”.

Late people don’t see it as a big deal when others are late, because they can ‘see the bigger picture’

Minute details tend not to bother people who fall into the B type. They then think because I would be OK with them being late, it’s OK if I’m five minutes late (it’s probably not).

They are more spontaneous

As with the laid-back nature of a B type personality, they will not worry so much about train times, booking hotels or flights. They “will just throw some items in a suitcase and head out, figuring out where to eat and sleep along the way. There is far more adventure in that.”, according to Lifehack.org.

And are also worse with money

People who are late, but genuinely don’t mean to be – the ones who want to be considerate, often live in the moment and find it hard to save for the future, says Alfie Kohn on Psychology Today. Some people “can’t summon the self-control to be on time” which would mean that person “probably has trouble getting his or her act together in other ways as well – say, around saving money or saying no to junk food.” Oops.

They like to beat targets and norms

Never one to follow instructions, believe the estimation on their Google Map or to think in a linear fashion. This means they think outside of the box, leading them to tackle issues in unconventional – and often better – ways. According to Delonzor, you could be ‘a deadliner’ – someone who is: “subconsciously drawn to the adrenaline rush of the sprint to the finish line”. Or you could be ‘a producer’ – someone “who gets an ego boost from getting as much done in as little time as possible.”

People who are late, according to cardiologists, are less likely to experience heart disease

In a study by the International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, A type personalities are thought to be more likely to be high risk for coronary diseases. This is due to the higher stress levels experienced – meaning those with less worry about timekeeping are likely to avoid diseases related to stress.

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