Days of Future Past: How to Use Time Travel for Success

rebel time
One of the hottest movies so far this summer has undoubtedly been X-Men: Days of Future Past.

It combined the best of the new X-Men films with the best of the old X-men films (though sadly no Nightcrawler), and stuck them in one giant blockbuster.

How can you have young wolverine and old wolverine, young Magneto and old Magneto, young Charles Xavier and old Charles Xavier?

Time travel!

Everybody loves a good time travel story – from Star Trek to Looper to Chrono Trigger – it’s so much fun to think about what could happen if we could go back into the past, talk to our younger selves, and rewrite our own history.

Today we’re going to join Charles Xavier, and use time travel to level up our lives.

You in the Past

space future

Yeah yeah, I hear you. The past is done.  Written in stone.  Done.

We can’t go back and rearrange history (…yet), but we can learn from it.

However, I want you to take a few minutes and think about what you would tell yourself if you COULD go back in time 10 years ago.  This is what I would tell myself:

1) Stop reading Muscle and Fitness Magazine and working out six days a week with individual body parts. It’s not working.  Instead, learn how to do big lifts, and just focus on getting strong.

2) Macaroni and cheese served in a pot does not count as a healthy meal.  And pizza doesn’t count either.  If you want to get bigger, focus on eating quality food before just quantity.  You’re spinning your wheels.

3) Dude, she’s not worth it, cheer up.  And the next won’t be worth it.  You’re going to be fine 🙂  And they’re not scary, it’s okay to talk to them!

4) A few years from now you’re going to have a bunch of dumb ideas, and then an idea to start a fitness site for nerds….which you will do nothing with for 18 months.  Start sooner!

5) Things work out. You’re going to panic about all sorts of things, and blow so many other things wayyyy out of proportion.  You’re going to freak out.  That test? Those papers? They’re important, but you won’t remember a damn thing about them. You WILL remember those road trips with friends and late nights.  So relax.  Get your shit done, but don’t forget to enjoy today too.

Yeah, it would be awesome to go back and talk to 20-year old Steve. Sure, he was young, naive, weak, and terrified of women…but he was a good kid trying to figure stuff out!

Stick with me – this isn’t just a silly exercise – we’re about to do some more time traveling and figure out how this affects the YOU right now.

You in the Future


A few weeks ago at the World Domination Summit, attendees were asked, “What’s life like in the future for you?”

Most people had answers that were so incredibly positive and exciting (or hilarious):

  • “The future is great! I’m now a published author!”
  • “I started that school and now I’m helping kids get educated in third world countries. Everything is awesome.”
  • “I’m pretty happy, but also sad. Sure life is great in the future, but there are still no jet packs.” (from my buddy Thomas Frank)

Now, for your next exercise: Instead of transplanting ourselves back 10 years, I want you to think 10 years into the future.  What is life like for you?  I’m going to guess life is pretty damn good for you – you should be getting closer and closer to reaching that “Level 50” version of yourself.

Here’s what life is like for me:

Life is freaking awesome.  You’re in better shape at age 40 than you were at age 30.  The Assassin’s guild in the Nerd Fitness Rebellion is proud to have you, because you’re crushing gymnastic holds and reaching new records.  

Both of those books you wrote? They hit the New York Times List, and more importantly helped a LOT of people.

Your epic quest is marching onward, and you’ve reached Level 25.

Your violin and piano skills have lead you onto the stage for small shows simply because you enjoy play the music and having fun.

The Rebellion has effectively transformed the fitness industry.  No longer is it the norm for people to fall for scams and shady products.  You turned down that buy-out from the Natural Life Food Company, and have continued to focus on providing value, education, support, and really corny humor to your tribe.

Oh, and you have a jet pack.

Your turn.  We’re talking about stuff that hasn’t happened yet, so feel free to dream away as to what you’re going to accomplish with your future.


  • You didn’t just become a runner, you officially ran the Boston Marathon.
  • You didn’t just become a traveler, you hiked Kilimanjaro and found Nemo.
  • You didn’t just lose weight and get stronger, but you deadlifted 405 lbs and fit into size 32 jeans.

I want you to paint as vivid a picture as you can.  Project yourself into that future and see what life is like.

Days of Future Past

future past

I have ONE final step for you.

It’s time to do a little Future-Past living.

Imagine you actually accomplish the life you hope to live 10 years from now.  You are living this epic life.  10 years from now, both jet packs AND time travel exist, and you get to come back to visit yourself TODAY.

TODAY-you takes a look at the time-traveling FUTURE-you and (after initially freaking out) starts up a dialogue.  Today-you wants to know where you end up.  You see all these choices laid out before you, and there are so many possibilities. More importantly, there are the paths that lead to accomplishments, and other paths where things aren’t going so well.

Think of this like Spock in the reboot of Star Trek. There is a good path and a great future, and a poor path and a poor future.  What do you think the “future you” tells the “now you” to ensure you are heading down the proper path?

Ever heard of the Butterfly Effect? The smallest of decisions can result in massive changes. That decisions to finally give getting healthy a real chance leads to a lifetime of new habits and a new you.

That “what the hell, sure” response to your friend asking if you want to go play frisbee or try rockclimbing turned out to open an entirely new chapter in your life. You finally decided to stop avoiding the kitchen and try the easiest chicken ever…now you cook all the time!

Future-you knows better, and knows all the things that you wish you could have done differently starting today. This is that chance.

Here’s some things your future-you might tell the YOU from right now:

  • Stop eating that crap food – you know it’s not making you happier in the long-term, and 10 years from now you’ll wish you had started making small changes today.
  • Go to that _____ class!  Who cares if you’re self-conscious and are gonna suck at it?  Everybody else there is self-conscious too!
  • Stop spending money on useless junk!  That trip you always wanted to take…eventually? Well it’s 10 years later, and “eventually” hasn’t happened yet.  Experiences trump possessions!

It’s now your turn. I realize this is QUITE the exercise, so I’m going to bribe you.  I want you to leave a comment with the following three things:

  1. Something the current you would tell yourself 10 years ago.
  2. What your future looks like, being as specific and detailed as possible.
  3. What’s one thing the FUTURE you would come back and tell TODAY you so that you head down the right path?

Leave a comment before Thursday, August 28th at 11:59 pm, and we’ll pick two winners: one at random, and one that’s our favorite. We’ll send the winners a free Nerd Fitness shirt.

That’s right, I’m bribing you to mentally time travel.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some teeny tiny steps to take 🙂



photo pin: Ian Sane: Time to Walk Like a Rebel, Carsten Tolkmit: time tunnel, BagoGames: Future Past, Joe Penniston: orbit

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