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I don’t know how many people are aware of CPT (colored people time), but it is a well-known term and tradition in communities of color. I’ve also recently heard of IST (Indian standard time) and another variation of CPT called Chinese people time. What it means to some is its OK to be late; what it implies is it’s cool to be late, not just sometimes but all the time.

I’m in no way trying to suggest that only people of color are indifferent about time, no way! Malcolm X, in his autobiography, is quoted as saying he had a difficult time respecting people that didn’t wear a watch. However, some cultures are especially dismissive regarding the importance of time. Many of you have probably heard of, if not practiced, island time, where it’s not only OK to be minutes late, but hours late.

How many appointments, meetings, dinner engagements and other events have started out on a bad foot or been blown completely because of CPT. How much time have we lost waiting for others, and how much of other people’s time have we wasted. We all need to reject CPT as being neither acceptable nor viable. To put it bluntly – CPT is a waste of time! If left unchecked some adherents to CPT can become time addicts! First they’re five minutes late, than fifteen, thirty, and pretty soon they act like you should be glad they made it at all, “Well I’m here aren’t I!”

Why play with time? Time is life, and wasting it is no joke!

Time is really all we have. It separates those who are locked up (doing time) from those who are free. It separates the living from the dead (out of time). Time gives us the opportunity to make choices, decisions and have power over our lives everyday. Managing time (life) better is something we can do starting now! It will make a dramatic and positive impact on your future – for free! We can’t all change the economy. We can’t all impact world politics. But let’s all respect each other and BE ON TIME!

Winston Burton
(Recovering CPT practitioner)