To fix a chronic lateness problem, check your neural pathway
The key to breaking a lateness habit is patient brain retraining.
Have you ended friendships over someone’s chronic lateness? When someone’s late all the time, it’s difficult not to draw the conclusion that they value their time more than yours. It feels insulting, and it also ruins any plan as you find yourself wondering if the person will show up on time, and when they don’t you have to decide if it’s gotten too late to proceed, and then you need to strategize how on earth to deal with your clueless friend if/when he or she does arrive.
But lateness is a tough problem to kick, as many of us know. We know that being late, or even almost being late, creates unnecessary pressure, causes us to race into appointments stressed-out and making us forget what we meant to bring. We risk, and sometimes do, miss things altogether. What kind of person puts themselves and the people around them through this?
- The Perfectionist—This person arrives late because they can’t leave something unfinished, or because preparations for the appointment go on too long. Sapadin’s advice: Try to stop sweating the details so much.
- The Crisismaker—This thrill-seeking type of person prefers the exhilaration and energy of being under pressure. Sapadin’s advice: Find a healthier way to stay energized, like working out.
- The Defier—This person’s sending a message with lateness. Sapadin’s advice: Consider being less reactive to your victim and being more pro-active about what’s bugging you.
- The Dreamer—This person uses magical thinking to estimate the travel time, and imagines there’s time for stops along the way. Sapadin’s advice: Get more specific about required time and realistic about your expectations.
It’s tough to break any habit, including lateness. According to cognitive scientists, when we perform an action, we create a neural pathway in our brain. This is true of constructive actions and destructive ones. The more we repeat an action—that is, do it again and again—the more well-established that neural pathway becomes until it’s just essentially our default behavior. Author of Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, Gretchen Rubin points out that while it may seem you’re repeatedly making a bad decision each time you’re late, it’s actually the opposite—what’s happening is that you’re not making a decision at all: You’re on autopilot, so your default neural pathway is the one down which you trippingly go.
It’s the same reason it’s hard to correct our mistakes: It takes consciously deciding to do something different to begin to develop a new neural pathway.
Retraining oneself requires a commitment and patience, since it can take a while to achieve. Organization consultant Rachelle Isip of The Order Expert suggests that breaking down regular daily habits to identify one appointment that's hard to get to on time provides a good place to begin. Other problem appointments can be addressed later.
Here are some ideas:
- Back up the appointment time by 15 minutes: If an appointment is really at 9 am, treat it as being 8:45 am.
- Physically rehearse the route to the appointment and time how long it takes.
- Artificially inflate the travel time to build in a buffer for surprises.
- Once you know the travel time, don’t add in stops along the way.
- Use an alarm to make sure you leave on time. Whatever works,
It’s important to repeat the winning formula a few times to solidify the new habit—after all, this is about building new neural pathways.
Eventually, the new methodology will become standard operating procedure, which is to say the new default behavior. And wouldn’t it be nice to arrive somewhere early enough to chill a bit before everyone else is ready?
Headline image: Georgie Pauwels
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Whether or not women think beards are sexy has to do with "moral disgust"
- A new study found that women perceive men with facial hair to be more attractive as well as physically and socially dominant.
- Women tend to associate more masculine faces with physical strength, social assertiveness, and formidability.
- Women who display higher levels of "moral disgust," or feelings of repugnance toward taboo behaviors, are more likely to prefer hairy faces.
Beards and perceptions of masculinity<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjU5OTg0MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NzkxMjM3N30.cH-GqNwP5GVqvstgJWAhBPn1B_lYpVEAI0I7iax7EQw/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C1900%2C0%2C849&height=700" id="caae6" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="cb0a355a4e8e1899789bc45f3f7aef56" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Photo Credit: Wikimedia<p>The study used 919 American (mostly white) women ages 18-70 who rated 30 pictures of men they were shown with various stages of facial hair growth. The photographs depicted men with faces that had been digitally altered to look more feminine or more masculine, with a beard and without a beard. The women rated the men according to perceived attractiveness for long-term and short-term relationships. The study found that the more facial hair the men had, the higher the men were rated on their attractiveness, particularly for their suitability for a long-term relationship.</p><p>Part of this might be attributed to facial masculinity — i.e. protruding brow ridge, wide cheekbones, thick jawline, and deeply set narrow eyes — which conveys information to a woman about a man's underlying health and formidability. Women tend to associate more masculine faces with physical strength and social assertiveness. It can also indicate a man with a superior immune response. The researchers suggested that their findings favoring bearded men could be due to the fact that facial hair enhances the masculine facial features on a man's face, like creating the illusion of a thicker jaw line. This could communicate direct benefits to women like resources and protection that would enhance survival among mothers and their infants. In other words, while a beard doesn't mean superior genetics in and of itself, it might be a primitive, ornamental way of saying, "Hey girl, I'm a testosterone-fueled lean, mean, pathogen fighting machine." <br></p><p>It could also be that a beard becomes its own destiny. The researchers in this study cite prior research that found that by growing a beard, men felt more masculine and had higher levels of serum testosterone, which was linked to a higher level of social dominance. They also tended to subscribe to more old-school beliefs about gender roles in their relationships with women as compared to men with clean-shaven faces.<span></span><br></p>
What does disgust have to do with beard preference?<p>Obviously, not all women dig beards. The researchers were particularly interested in what traits make a women prefer bearded men over clean-shaven faces. They looked into several factors including a woman's disgust levels on various concepts, her desire to become pregnant, and her exposure to facial hair in her personal life. </p><p>According to the study, women who were not into facial hair were turned-off by potential parasites or other critters they imagined could be in the hair or skin. Women ranking high on this "ectoparasite disgust" scale might have viewed beards as a sign of poor grooming habits. However, women who ranked higher in levels of "pathogen" did find the bearded men to be desirable, possibly because they perceived beards as a signal of good health and immune function. An intriguing discovery in the study was links to morality. Women who displayed higher levels of "moral disgust," or feelings of repugnance toward taboo behaviors, were more likely to prefer hairy faces. The authors opined that this could reflect a link between beardedness, politically conservative outlooks, and traditional views regarding performances of masculinity in heterosexual relationships.</p>
Additional findings<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjU5OTg1My9vcmlnaW4uZ2lmIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNDI1NjUyOX0.P9B8WbmJR0q4nfzYZKbuNSA-2SAigVWJgrQE-_Gxlds/img.gif?width=980" id="49143" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2ed3b1d6f20fc170bf2974646e565e8d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />Giphy<p>The correlations that existed between married and single women's rating on the attractiveness of beards were not particularly clear, although the researchers noted that single and married women who wanted children tended to find beards more attractive than the women who didn't want children. They also found that women with bearded husbands found beards to be more attractive, which might indicate that social exposure to beards influences how desirable they are perceived of as being. Or it could be that men with wives who like beards grow beards.</p><p>It's important to note that culture plays a huge role in how attractive women perceive certain male characteristics as being. This study looked at a small, culturally specific group of American women, so no big, universal claims should be made about masculinity, facial hair, and male desirability to women. However, research like this is important in highlighting how human grooming decisions are driven by much more than fashion trends. Sociobiological, economic, and ecological factors all play a part in the way we choose to present ourselves.</p>
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