Have you noticed that tardiness is on the rise? People are chronically late for work; for their child’s teacher conference or athletic contest; or even for parties and celebrations. As the old saying goes, “they will even be late for their own funeral.” Yet, punctuality is one of the key ways that we can positively brand ourselves.
Today we will explore why it is so important to be on time for all of your scheduled events. Whatever your appointment may be—a phone call, a business meeting, or a dinner engagement—you should always strive to be on time.
Why Be on Time?
Being on time:
- Demonstrates that you are diligent and dependable.
- Indicates that you honor your commitments and you can be trusted.
- Shows that you have respect for other people and that you care as much about their time as your own.
- Sets a good example for your children and others who look up to you.
- Builds self-confidence and success.
One of the common attributes of all successful people is that they view their time as a precious resource. When you are late for appointments with people who value their time, you will have wasted one of their most valuable assets and there is a good chance they will view you as rude, irresponsible and disrespectful. Is this how you want to brand yourself?
Not only should you make every effort to be on time for business-related appointments, but you should also do your utmost to be on time for personal commitments. Valuing your friend’s time and earning their respect is an important part of your individual reputation.
Let’s now look at two specific business scenarios where punctuality is critical.
Not only should you strive to be on time for an appointment, but also I recommend that you set a goal to arrive at least five minutes early.
Four Reasons You Should Arrive Early:
1. To give yourself a buffer in case something delays you. Planning to show up at the exact time of your appointment leaves no room for error.
2. To be relaxed for the appointment. Running through the door stressed out because you were rushing, never reflects well on you.
3. To make sure you are prepared for the appointment. Always arrive early so you will have a few minutes to relax, think about your agenda, and get organized.
If I am meeting with some prospective clients at a restaurant, I select a table out of the way. Being early gives me the opportunity to determine the best location for the meeting and ensure that the clients are not distracted.
4. To avoid making up an excuse for being late. I don’t know about you, but I hate listening to excuses and even worse, I hate making excuses.
When I was a realtor, I would arrive for my appointments five minutes early to gather my presentation materials and review any notes I had taken. Then at the exact time of the appointment I would ring the bell. This was an easy way to make a great first impression.
Making Scheduled Phone Calls
When you schedule phone calls, always be clear about who’s responsible for initiating the call. When you don’t know who is initiating the call, then accept the responsibility and make the call at the scheduled time. This puts you in control.
If you are the person responsible for initiating the call, what kind of impression will you make? Will it be positive, neutral or negative? If you want to really gain the edge in life, take advantage of all opportunities to make a positive impression on others.
- Negative Impression—If you call more than five minutes early or more than five minutes late, you run the risk of making a negative impression.
- Neutral Impression—If you call one or two minutes early or one or two minutes late you will likely not make any impression because it’s what most people do.
- Positive Impression—When you call at the exact time of your call, you have the opportunity to make a positive impression. I have had hundreds of people tell to me, “Wow, you are right on time!” That comment tells me that I made an impact!
When you have a call scheduled, write it in your appointment book and if necessary set your cell phone alarm to notify you two minutes in advance. Then at the exact time, press “send.”
When Your Best Plan Fails
Circumstances do arise and it won’t always be possible to be on time. If you are going to be late for an appointment, call as soon as you know you are going to be late. This allows others to plan their schedules accordingly. Cell phones, PDA’s and other technology make this an easy thing to do.
When you are on time you enhance your brand. When you are late, you devalue your brand. Being on time is a choice.
Let me encourage you to take pride in being a person who is always on time and prepared for your appointments. Remember, there is no downside in showing up early, but there is significant downside to showing up late.
Is being on time a challenge for you? I encourage you to share your experiences in the comment section below.
You can be respected, as someone who is always on time, if being on time is important to you.
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Time Being: Being Time
Time is the most unknown of all unknown things.
Aristotle, 384 BC – 322 BC
What do we know about time? How do our perceptions of time shape our thoughts and experiences? How can visual art help in unpicking these questions? This exhibition brings together several artists who, working across a variety of media, all bring some new understanding to the nature of time and our perception of it. In his Lectures on the Phenomenology of Internal Time Consciousness (1928). Husserl distinguishes between objective time in the world, the inner time of experience, and a deeper consciousness of inner time. This is a good introduction to what is the most complicated and ungraspable of subjects. Theories of time from all of these perspectives abound, here we focus on some core ideas about the nature of inner and outer time on a journey through physics, philosophy, zen and neuroscience concluding with a discussion of how visual art can open these ideas in ways that transcend other forms of research.
In 1865, Rudolf Clausius had stated “The entropy of the universe tends to a
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maximum”.This important discovery came to be known as the second law of thermodynamics, it describes entropy: the thermodynamic property directing towards dissipation. Heat will warm cool air, and vica versa…until reaching a point of equilibrium. Everything tends from low to high entropy, which suggests time has a direction. There is a more ordered past, and a less ordered future. Ultimately this leads to a point of dissipation where there is no more movement and therefore no more time, named the ‘heat death of the universe’ where eventually there is an eternity of nothing… The second law of thermodynamics fits with our unquestionable sense of time flowing from past to present to future, however, the idea of time’s flow is not decisive- it relates to matter existing within time, it does not necessarily describe time itself. Although the ‘arrow of time’ may legitimately imply temporal directions of past and future, this does not then mean the arrow itself is moving towards the future… just as a compass pointing north does not in itself move north.
As Einstein said, “The past, present and future are only illusions, even if stubborn ones”. Einstein fundamentally changed our understanding of external, or ‘objective time’. As opposed to Newton’s absolute time, and absolute space; independent from each other and our ways of measuring either, Einstein’s theory of relativity showed us that time and space are not separate but inter-related spacetime, within which time is not an absolute but relative, allowing for many theories of time including time travel.
It is possible that past, present and future exist simultaneously in the same way that points exist in space, or places on a map. To take this further, there is discussion in contemporary physics that perhaps time does not exist at all, but is merely a perceptual construct of our own self consciousness. In his article Is Time an Illusion in Scientific American in 2010, Craig Callander writes;
The universe may be timeless, but if you imagine breaking it into pieces, some of the pieces can serve as clocks for the others. Time emerges from timelessness. We perceive time because we are, by our very nature, one of those pieces.
Around the same time as Einstein’s was changing our understanding of time in the physical universe through its interrelated nature, western philosophy was also undergoing important shifts in understanding through the work of the phenomenologists. For two hundred years, western thinking had been bound by Cartesian Dualism, first suggest by Descartes in the 17th century. Descartes changed philosophy with his suggestion that
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the mind and body are two separate entities; the mind being non material and the body material, influencing each other yet remaining independent, dividing our sensory and intellectual understandings of the world. This mind/body problem dominated philosophy until the birth of phenomenology at the turn of the twentieth century, when Husserl began deconstructing dualism by relocating our experience in the world. His approach attempted to look at traditional philosophical problems unbound from historical tradition, which he did by analyzing phenomena simply as they are, seeking to avoid conditioned thought to get to the truth of the experience. In his Lectures on the Phenomenology of Internal Time Consciousness Husserl applies this attention to temporal phenomena (such as music which succeeds through time) he describes how our perceptions move from being received to retained (as musical notes remain in memory after being heard before drifting out of consciousness) essentially describing our sensory perception of the flow of time as a continuum.
Husserl’s phenomenology paved the way for the work of Martin Heidegger. A student of Husserl’s, Heidegger’s philosophy of temporality arguably moves on from Husserl’s philosophy of internal time consciousness. In his seminal book, Being and Time, Heidegger introduces the notion of ‘Da sein’ or ‘beingness’ which locates being within temporality; bound by time. He also explores the idea of this original being in time as transcendent of the individual, as inter related;
Everyone is the other, and no one is himself. The they, which supplies the answer to the who of everyday Da-sein, is the nobody to whom every Da-sein has always already surrendered itself, in its being-among-one-another.
Being in Time, 1927
There are many references and relations in Heidegger’s philosophy to East Asian thought, particularly Zen. In terms of understanding our experiential relationship to time it could be said that Heidegger was the closest of all western thinkers to really deepen our understanding of the nature of time conscioussness, however it could also be said that ultimately he was held back by western philosophy’s dualistic heritage. Zen on the other hand, free of the rational, intellectual constraints of western thought, has long embraced embodied, direct experience.
In the13th century philosopher Dōgen Zenji wrote the poem Time Being, in which he expresses time itself as being, and all being as time;
For the time being stand on top of the highest peak.
For the time being proceed along the bottom of the deepest ocean.
For the time being three heads and eight arms.
For the time being an eight- or sixteen-foot body.
For the time being a staff or whisk.
For the time being a pillar or lantern.
For the time being the sons of Zhang and Li.
For the time being the earth and sky.
Contrary to the western search to articulate time as some deeper universal structure, or as a perceptual mechanism within ourselves, Dōgen embraces the impermanent, indeterminate nature of time, as well as the absence of it. We could relate this understanding of time to theories within astrophysics of time being an illusion. Time is impossible to pin down, it is unknowable, and by embracing this, we come closer to understanding it. It is this existential experience that is at the core of all Zen teaching; true understanding lies beyond philosophy, we actually have to be it, the real nature of things lies beyond any rational understanding. Whereas Descartes gave us the duality of mind and body, Zen exists in nonduality, where there is no separation between the sense of the self and that which is external, instead there is only intersubjectivity, or interconnectedness. In Zen practice, the nondual experience of being and time as interconnected is arrived at through meditation, through the simple act of attention, becoming ‘the observer’ of both inner and outer experience in the present moment.
In his forward to the volume on Zen Buddhism by D.T Suzuki, William Barrett recalls a visit to Heidegger, when he was found reading one of Suzuki’s books. Heidegger remarked, “If I understand this man correctly, this is what I have been trying to say in all my writings”. Heidegger was also concerned with a key notion in Zen- the idea of nothing as expressed in Being and Time, “The nothing does not remain the indeterminate opposite of beings but reveals itself as belonging to the Being of beings.” Returning to thermodynamics and relativity; the relationship between matter and time, between nothing and no time, we can see the connections between physics, Heiddegger and Dōgen’s thinking; “Most people think time is passing and do not realize that there is an aspect that is not passing. To comprehend this is to realize being”.
In this case, we could say that mind is the cosmos made conscious, that our self awareness and reflection is the way the universe understands itself.
Having looked at the path of our understanding of time, both external and internal, through western science and philosophy, we can see parallels in how thought has attempted to bridge the divide of dualism. The suggestion is that the nature of being and time is more interconnected than previously understood, something Zen had expressed a millennia before. This argument has been significantly accelerated in the wake of contemporary neuroscience, allowing us to readdress philosophical questions about consciousness through an entirely new framework. In relation to time, recent neuroscientific research suggests that our ability to imagine comes from the same neural networks as memory retention. It seems we have to remember the past to be able to imagine the future, just as Husserl’s temporality describes how our expectations for the coming moment and the memory of the one just passed are all simultaneously present. If memory is what allows us to imagine, then fiction and percieved reality are therefore far more interconnected than previously thought, and the past not as static as we believe it to be.
On an everyday level, we understand that the quality of our attention to our present affects the way in which we experience time’s flow: ‘time flies when we are having fun’. This plasticity of perception can also be intentional; the advanced practitioner of Zen meditation is capable of intentionally producing different experiential states, including nonduality. This provides a rich recourse for neuroscientific research. The potential of mapping the neural correlates of nondual experience not only tells us much about the brain, but it locates the ungraspable experience of indeterminate, interconnected time, or even no time, into something we can actually see.
So how do these ideas of interconnectivity relate to the making, viewing and thinking about art? In 1996 scientists researching connections between neural activity and hand to mouth actions in macaque monkeys, accidentally came across what is now called the ‘mirror neuron’. What they discovered was that the monkeys had some of the same neural responses when observing the scientists pick up food, as when they picked up the food themselves. Further research suggests that humans have mirror neurons functioning in the same way, and this can tell us much about how we learn, relate and empathise with each other. To return to Heiddegger, “Everyone is the other, and no one is himself”these neuroscientific discoveries take us yet further towards a plurality of interconnections between the self,
the other and the external. What the mirror neuron points to is that when I see your action, I unconsciously have an embodied experience which mirrors it.
This deep empathetic mechanism also opens up intersubjective readings of art works. As we track the path of an objects making we can relate it to our own physicality. Art functions as a dialectic, within which an image, object or action opens up abstractions and ideas able to transcend language. These we are invited to articulate in a sphere of thought and experience, the map of which is not drawn merely by reason and intellect. The photograph of the hand holding sand becomes our hand, we feel the weight of the steps across the beach, we trace the cuts, the brush stokes, the rolls, the light brings us directly into ourselves through our heightened attention and perception of the external. This recognition is not limited however to our physicality, more the embodiment is an unconscious empathetic vehicle which both integrates and co exists with our ability to frame art works through various critical models. On the most basic level, the work of art is a connection point, through which we can recognize each other, and in turn ourselves. Although there is an implied paradox between neurological reductionism and the expansive state of interconnectivity, the suggestion is that while our consciousness is defined by our critical ability to self reflect, to observe ourselves, we are also far more intuitively connected than we may be aware of.
Coming back to the exhibtion, the works touch on time in many different guises; temporality, attention, external and internal perception, marking time, our comprehension of cosmic time are all explored in the works. Art gives us experiences of the connections between us, as we hopeis shown in Time Being Being Time. Ideally the works act as a platform from which, while exploring time, we can discuss not only the interconnected nature of contemporary research, but the intersubjective ways in which we read art. To summarise, although we may understand very little about the real nature of time, approaching it reveals much about the nature of us. If the closest we can get to time is through embodied acceptance of unknowing, through intention and attention to the present, what is in fact revealed is that where time may be an illusion, so are the divisions that we have constructed between ourselves. Art gives us a language with which we can share the first person embodied experience and therefore contribute some deeper understanding to being and time.