All your bad habits are great habits! Revel with Self-Affirmation!

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Stickers, pens and sandwich trays are always competing for space with your company files, laptop and mobiles: your office desk is always messy, you swear like a drunken trooper, and always turn up late at the company’s budget meetings besides being a procrastinator. You also wake up late in the mornings because you have been watching all those late night serials and shows on TV.

You may be wrong if all this seems like bad habits to you – because an enduring genre of research and science explains that what you always thought to be awfully wrong is actually really terrific. This belief is reinforced if we wade into and cherry-pick through the expanse of studies to generate fantastic clips that tend to prove all your bad habits are actually good habits! 

Is this research driven by our need to feel good about our bad behaviour? Chocolate addicts can find comfort in the embraces of a study by Italian researchers who suggest that regularly lapping up chocolate assists in memory recall and combats cognitive decline. The media certainly seems to be chomping it up: chocolate lovers are enjoined to rejoice. Other guilt-ridden folks can also find comfort for their sins in research.

You get up late,You win To the night owls, nothing worthwhile happens before 10.00 am, so why get up early? Staying up late has been found to be some form of “evolutionary novel” from the days when our ancestors developed those early-to-bed DNA-ingrained habits. 

The Savanna–IQ Interaction Hypothesis predicts that more intelligent individuals are more likely to be nocturnal, getting up later in the morning and going to bed later in the evening, than less intelligent individuals. So routine nocturnal activities are merely “evolutionary”. There is a sound evidentiary basis grounded in researches by the US army and British researchers that supports the idea that overachievers oversleep – “more intelligent children are more likely to grow up to be nocturnal adults who go to bed late and wake up late everyday.” Studies by the University of Southampton have found that those going to bed after 11:00 pm and getting up after 8:00 am tend to be higher earners than the early risers.

Clutter, clutter: the determinant of creativity If cleanliness is next to godliness, messiness must be at par with sheer geniusness. A study from the University of Minnesota found that mess somehow makes you more creative. It posits: “Disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insights. Orderly environments, in contrast, encourage convention and playing it safe.” 

The tyranny of order and disorder is present in nature and culture. Experiments show that orderly environments lead people toward tradition, convention and conformity while disorderly environments encourage a break with tradition and convention – and that both can alter preferences and behaviour. Experiments have shown that participants in an orderly room choose healthier snacks and donate more money, while participants in a disorderly room are more creative.

You are great if you are late! Being late has been described as presidential, aristocratic and laying the foundation for an entry at any function, especially if you happen to be a VIP and have people literally swooning for breathing the same air as you and eating out of your hands. 

Dr Linda Sapadin, a psychologist, proclaims that persistent lateness can be traced to your ability for “an obsessive thinking problem”. You are not late because you do not care about others, but because you care too much and your thinking goes into an overdrive mode. So next time you are running behind deadlines, avoid blaming it on the road congestions and the buses that break down, just blame your train of thought.

So if you are late for a meeting or a drink, just send an sms to inform that you will be there in some minutes. Should your lateness or lies bedevil you or put you in a bad light? Not at all. If you are persistently late, you are just an obsessive thinker waltzing into stratospheric thinking. Your friends will surely understand. 

Swearing? It’s caring about language There is a widespread assumption that people who swear frequently are lazy, do not have an adequate vocabulary, lack education, or simply cannot control themselves. They are wrong! A 2015 study found that: “A voluminous taboo lexicon may better be considered an indicator of healthy verbal abilities rather than a cover for their deficiencies.” A pronounced proclivity for profanities does not mean you are some bloody idiot: it means you have a colourful vocabulary for expressions and a hallmark of verbal prowess.

Procrastination is proof of inner perfection I was supposed to e-mail this article last week, but then I procrastinated by watching a movie for the nth time. But that is completely all right, because studies say that procrastination is a sure sign of perfectionism! Because perfectionists fear being unable to complete a task perfectly, they put it off as long as possible. This can be traced to that fear that not meeting a goal means that there is something wrong inside of them. Indeed, Italian psychologist Antonio Pierro found that procrastinators spend a lot of time on assessing a situation before taking any action to make sure they do the right thing; they are more likely to procrastinate because they wish to consider all options before making a decision. They were also afraid of making the wrong decision. In other words, you procrastinate because you ”overthink” and try to be a perfectionist. Can it be all that bad? That call of perfectionists inside us will make us overthink.


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