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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Be Early

It seems I've spent most of my life sliding into position just before a bell rings; the soundtrack of my life should include an umpire yelling "safe!"

Whether it's the start of a class (as student and, for nearly 30 years now, teacher), or renewing a driver's license, or making a necessary phone call, the plaque that the staff put on my desk when I was a principal has been the theme of my life: "If it weren't for the last minute, nothing would ever get done around here."

Occasionally, though, circumstances conspire to make me be earlier, and when that happens, I'm usually happier.

These days, for example, I live on the east campus of my school, and work on the west. There's a shuttle bus whose schedule compels me to arrive at least 20 minutes before class time. I'm able to buy breakfast, eat it in my office, and stroll into class with time to spare.

In Japan, I did evening training sessions in various companies around Tokyo. I would head to the client's neighborhood and eat my "lunch" (early dinner) there, rather than near my office, so I could walk in cool (literally), calm, and collected.

When I've been able to do this, to go against my "nature" (whatever that is) and avoid rushing, I've discovered that it makes me happier than the five minutes of troubled sleep gained by that extra hit of the snooze alarm.

So reduce the panic in your life, the drama of the constant "photo finish," and be early instead.

You'll be happier.

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