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Science Discovers Your Appalling Habits Are Actually Positive

I’m an appalling person with bad habits. I’m late, I gossip, I procrastinate. But according to a pile of studies, I’m actually a genius. Yay, Science.


As one tends to get older, one tends to accept the more questionable parts of your personality as the unfortunate features of you. You accept it, but it’s not a positive. It is how it is. You’re a terrible person.

That being said, would you consider your negative habits as positives?

Normally, it’d be an unequivocal no, but thank god for the echo chamber. We’ve scoured the depths of the internet to latch onto the tiniest specs of validation to make us all feel a bit better.

Disclaimer: I take the following as a personal insult, even if it is framed as a positive. As all the following are mine, all mine. God, I’m a disgrace.


Positive Detriment #1 – Procrastination Is the Key to Achieving Your Dreams.

Shorthand, you should procrastinate, because Steve Jobs did it. Just like your acid phase. Steve’s fault. According to the book of Jobs, procrastination to get ahead is an entirely legit concept.

Wharton Professor (and Jobs acolyte) Adam Grant argues that we should not reduce our procrastination, but make sure we expand it. Grant contends that our procrastination should encompass not just laziness, but also should include waiting for the opportune moment.

In other words, procrastination can help boost creativity because you give yourself a chance to develop your big idea. Which just sounds like a justification for not doing it.

In an interview with Business Insider’s Rachel Gillett, Grant applied the gospel thusly:

“The time Steve Jobs was putting things off and noodling on possibilities was time well spent in letting more divergent ideas come to the table, as opposed to diving right in with the most conventional, the most obvious, the most familiar.”

Hectic. It’s probably why my book has been stranded on page 67 since 2012.

I’m waiting for the right time.


Positive Detriment #2 – Being Perpetually Late Is … Actually Great.

The generally held idea is that those who are chronically late care not for personal and professional relationships, as they do not value the time of others, as well as their own. As it turns out, the assumption is fiction, as being late drags you ever closer to the truth, in that what time we’re afforded on this planet is not enough to fit everything in, so we have to work faster.

Author Diana DeLonzor shared her thoughts regarding the above to The New York Times stating:

“Many late people tend to be both optimistic and unrealistic, she said, and this affects their perception of time. They really believe they can go for a run, pick up their clothes at the dry cleaners, buy groceries and drop off the kids at school in an hour.”

In other words, those who are late expect everything to fall into line. It’s why the last minute is longer than all the others. Duh.


Positive Detriment #3 – Gossipness Is Close Enough to Mindfulness.

As every teenager since the moment we dragged ourselves from the primordial goop would attest, the more you share the secrets of others (even if they happen to be fictional), the better you feel.

However, that social theory tends to lose value once our genitals become hirsute and our scalps become balder. Of course, that doesn’t hold true for everyone.

That being said, we should no longer be so quick to judge those who gossip as adults. Research suggests that gossiping in order to help someone else garners reflective good feels for you also.

One study found that when participants observed cheating in a trust game, their heart rates increased.

But researchers gave participants the option to send people playing the game (who were really experimental confederates) notes about anything they wanted and about half chose to write notes conveying information about the cheater’s devious ways.

Researchers call this type of information transmission “prosocial gossip.” After the note-senders engaged in prosocial gossip, they said they felt better and their heart rates decreased.


Positive Detriment #4 – Not Being, Uh … Able to String Together a Sentence Is, Uh … Good?

It stands to reason that those who honeycomb their sentences with the lazy half-dead bees that buzz “um,” “uh,” and “you know?” should be drenched with the cold water of abject failure. Except, no. According to a recent Quartz article, words such as “um” and “uh” help listeners understand and remember what you’re saying.

Moreover, another study found that highly conscientious people are more likely to use filler words in conversation. If one requires an example of success combined with strangled sentences, look no further than Dr. Ian Malcolm. He’s a doctor, you know.

Oof. My loins.


Positive Detriment #5 – Fidgeting All Day Keeps the Reaper Away.

Consider the fountain of youth a perpetually jiggling person you are unfortunate enough to share a bus seat with. Would you want to live forever? Seems more a curse, if anything. An eternity of fidgeting for eternal life. One study found that women who reported fidgeting more while at work had a lower mortality risk than women who said they fidgeted less.

I was unable to find a study that suggested the increased murder risk in those who publicly decide to fidget within the proximity of others. One can naturally assume that a mass grave exists somewhere, filled with science folk who started that research but were unable to finish it.



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