Good news for all those people who are never, ever on time.
We all know that one person who, no matter how hard they try, is perpetually late… to everything. They confidently stride into the office long after everybody else, they’re on incredibly good terms with the snooze buttons on their alarm clocks, and we know all too well that they’ll send us a breezy “sorry, there in twenty minutes – promise!” before they make it to brunch / lunch / drinks / movie night / any important life event (delete as applicable).
If you can’t think of anyone who fits that description, however, we have news for you; you may not be wearing a pocket watch and a waistcoat, but you are the White Rabbit of your friendship group.
Yes, there may not be time to say “hello” – or “goodbye” – when the clock is working against you, but when your boss next rakes you over the coals for your tardiness, we recommend finding a few moments to explain that late people are scientifically proven to be winning at life.
According to Business Insider, tardiness is a common trait of people who are successful, creative, and optimistic.
A number of studies have shown that everybody needs to cut White Rabbit wannabes some extra slack, because they’re very likely to have a lot on their plate (multitasking makes you lose all sense of time, after all).
Similarly, their generally positive outlook on life makes them believe that they have more time on their hands than they actually do – hence why they find it so tricky to keep to strict deadlines.
Despite this, however, they’re far more likely to succeed; a study among salesmen has proven that optimists tend to complete 88% more sales than their colleagues – which may have something to do with the fact that they’re more likely to look at the bigger picture, rather than distracting themselves with insignificant details.
And, according to researchers at Harvard Medical School, “research tells us that an optimistic outlook early in life can predict better health and a lower rate of death during follow-up periods of 15 to 40 years.” Which means that, yes, people who are late all the time are likely to live longer lives, too. Go figure.
It’s also worth pointing out that relaxed and creative types (aka Type B people) are also proven to perceive time differently, thanks to a study which saw a group of research participants asked to guess how much time had passed after a minute. The late people among them thought that 77 seconds had passed, whereas people who are typically on time, guessed 58 seconds.
Basically, it’s not your fault you’re late; your brain is just wired up differently to everybody else’s. However we fully recommend tweaking the settings on your alarm clock, so that you believe it truly is 15 minutes later than it actually is. It may just save you from yet another passive-aggressive run-in with your boss…
This article was originally published in February 2017.