Best Practices describe why Punctuality matters

In martial arts “punctuality” is the key. Why?
Why I think so, I’ll explain later, let’s see how punctuality is defined in Wikipedia: the characteristic of being able to complete a required task or fulfill an obligation before or at a previously designated time. "Punctual" is often used synonymously with "on time". It is a common misconception that punctual can also, when talking about grammar, mean "to be accurate".

In business world punctuality means organizing your time effectively; to be more productive as you start or get on time; in some countries to be respectful to your hosts and well, yes – also disrespectful in others; in short, punctuality affects the individual just as much as it affects the workplace to operate more smoothly as a whole. Punctuality reduces stress as well as stress leads to poor workplace performance.

Does then being punctual strengthens and reveals your integrity?
George Washington
It is said that when George Washington’s secretary arrived late to a meeting and blamed his watch for his tardiness, Washington quietly replied ‘Then you must get another watch, or I another secretary.’

When you make others wait, you rob minutes from those that came early or on time.

I recall leading a project group in a government environment: we had meetings in a place where most of attendants had their offices. The reason was not to spend time of most participants on commuting. I usually arrived few minutes earlier. Once, after several attempts of asking people to be on time, I have written on the big wall table names and numbers. Everybody seemed a bit wary while watching me. When the last person finally arrived I summed up the numbers and multiplied with average hour salary for our group. We lost almost an average monthly salary while waiting.

The importance of being punctual is not universal and varies from country to country, even within country and from culture to culture. In some places like south Europe, Latin America or Pacific Islands, life moves at a different pace than in northern hemisphere and meeting times are meant to be more incoherent.

Does then being punctual build up and reveal the extent of control a leader has?

It depends. In martial arts it is well known that being late is the beginning of your failure. The martial artist needs to react to stimuli fast. In a fight, if the opponent tries to strike it is about our ability to react to avoid, counter, block or offer any other response.

ReflexThe time for initiating the response is determined by the reaction speed and stored knowledge in the brain. The brain has to absorb the stimulation, make a decision, and send the electronic signal or pulse telling the body what to do (see: How To Unify Body, Mind and Spirit where I have written about “the muscle knowledge”). If an event (situation) is new the processing time is longer. If our life is threatened we might as well use reflex to protect us. Reactions get their commands from the centralized nerve system, namely and mainly the brain, where the reflexes get the commands from the spinal cord and are hard wired to protect ourselves. Therefore, the reflex is faster than reaction. But to be faster does not necessarily mean to be adequate. The best performance still means that a proper response to stimuli is given although it may be slower. There is a tiny line of time slot in which our response is appropriate: it is punctuality.

For our needs we have sliced down the time into distinct parts - seconds, minutes, hours and so forth. Although the time is one and only, we can have our own perception of time: it may run internally ‘faster’ or ‘slower’ than those defined slices. Waiting for someone – time does not pass. In a car accident your perception is speeded up and you see in ‘slow motion’ a torsion of a car body.

If you are punctual – everything “falls” simultaneously!


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