I needed a mentor and a savior. But I am shy, I lack resources, and I suck at networking. I couldn’t find what I was looking for and I turned to books which are the next big thing. The books lead me in through a path that ended back to myself. It got me thinking and I thought maybe I should be my own mentor and savior, and then I did.

James Gatz created the persona of Jay Gatsby—The Great Gatsby. I, myself created the persona of the future version of myself—THE GREAT VERSION OF ME. I envisioned an empowered version of me. Someone wiser, stronger, and a greater person than who I am today. Still, we are the same person. I envisioned I am a time traveler from the future.

“Live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now!” It seems to me that there is nothing which would stimulate a man’s sense of responsibleness more than this maxim, which invites him to imagine first that the present is past and, second, that the past may yet be changed and amended. Such a precept confronts him with life’s finiteness as well as the finality of what he makes out of both his life and himself.”

— Victor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

I came back because I know my story, I am a super fan of it, and I want to relive it. I want to experience again the small details that made me into the man I become in the future. I also came back out of self-compassion. I am concerned about me and I want to help me. I am here to fulfill a few “things I wish I knew, things I wish someone had told me, and things I wish I did or didn’t do” wishes.

My current self is lost and can’t figure out where he wants to go and how to get there. He lacks purpose and has a lot of questions. It’s a good thing I have a lot of answers. I am here to guide him through life.  I am here to inspire him and make sure he is prepared for the hardest arc in our life journey.

Is this one of those faking it till you make it bullshit? No, it’s not. This is a manifestation of an illusion I created and chose. I am under a spell and I perceive reality in a different way. It’s like believing in Santa Claus. You don’t know he is fake. He is real until he is not. In the same way, I am the future in the present until I become the future.

I know there are a lot of unanswered questions, but this is my intention.

Which year in the future do I come from? It doesn’t matter. You and I, we all at some point or another need help or inspiration. We can’t always rely on others for these things, yet we can always be there for ourselves. We can all find purpose and meaning from within. We can be our own saviors, mentors, and heroes when we need it the most. We can all be time travelers from the future. We are all the inevitability of our greatness of tomorrow. Superhumans of Tomorrow.

Who is this character that needs a mentor and a savior? What is the setting? What are the stakes?

It can be anyone and anything. This is a reminder for me and you, about why being a time traveler from the future is a superpower and that we can at any time help ourselves by adopting an illusion. It is a reminder of a superpower we all had when we were kids and lost it along the way. Imagination.

There are also other, more specific answers to these questions. They are about me as a character. But they can be specific about you too.  If you are patient and endure until the end of this post, you can find out more. Please do it. I came back from the future for all of us, not just for me. The least you can do is to read until the end.

Enough with the introductions. Here is why being a time traveler from the future is a superpower:

  1. Better Narrative

“You too can sometimes get what you want by adopting a practical illusion. Reality is overrated and impossible to understand with any degree of certainty. What you do know for sure is that some ways of looking at the world work better than others. Pick the way that works, even if you don’t know why.”

— Scott Adams, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big

We don’t get to choose our reality, but we get to choose how to interpret it. If it is a choice, why should we choose to be beggars for a better tomorrow that never comes when we can be investors in it? See the difference? One takes away as the other gives. A beggar hopes for some spare change or a change that might come. A time traveler from the future knows already of his accomplishments and potential, and he can use this knowledge to ensure his way back or invest in better actions and choices that will get him there. A time traveler when called to invest in either fear or hope, the easy choice or the hard choice, surrender or persevere, he always chooses the option that moves him forward.

If the narrative is a choice between life or fiction, magic or reality, then the obvious choices for a better story are fiction and magic. Aladdin believed in magic and he could fly on his magic carpet because of it, and who am I but a lazy person who would rather fly than walk.

Every moment in every day, we are called to make a choice, and at the end of the day, we are the sum of our choices over time. It seems to me the better choice is to choose fiction over reality, every moment and day, and adopt a fictitious version of a reality today to create a better life for tomorrow.

  1. Better Story Enjoyment and Mindfulness

“If it’s true that you and I are living stories, then isn’t it true that there are parts of our stories we don’t like? Perhaps there are parts of our stories that we even hate. There are moments we feel stuck in, things we wish we could forget, pages and paragraphs—even entire chapters—we wish we could remove. And the longer we live, the further we get down these roads, the harder it is to live in the present. Because we lose things—we lose people, we lose relationships—and we are tempted to go back. We reach for the past. We try to press rewind.”

— Jamie Tworkowski, If You Feel Too Much

Choosing fiction over reality, makes us all the authors of our own “book of life.” Some chapters suck, others are glorious. There are hard times and good times, and there are times with crying and laughter. A lot of pages are dark and black, whereas others are plain blank because there won’t be words to use when we are empty and dull. Most pages are boring to read, but there are few, the few that make the book worth a read or reads, which destroy our eyes with their unbearable brightness and light our entire body on fire. They bring us joy. Joy. I never understood how a three-letter word, such a small word, can have such an enormous significance.

Adopting the role of a time traveler from the future is a lifehack able to hijack joy. Why? Coming from the future, the time traveler is in a later chapter in our lives.  The time traveler knows sadness and happiness are like seasons, one following another. He knows for every cold winter, there is also a hot summer, and for every short and dark day, there is also a long and a bright day. The time traveler sees happiness and sadness as natural phenomena which occur no matter what. Sad things and mistakes happen all the time. Their inevitability can’t be doubted. Though, their negative value can and must be doubted. A negative sign can be attached or there is also a choice to refuse the attachment of value. They hold no value. They are zeros.

There is also a grandiose trick, that most people don’t know about or they know and ignore it, but the time traveler knows well and is not afraid to use it. The trick is to be mindful of these experiences. Knowing sadness is what sets up happiness, reduces the negative annotation associated with it, and even encourages appreciation for it because after all it is the feature that defines the impact of the upcoming joy. At the same time, knowing that happy moments are scarce and are always to be followed by sadness, maximizes their momentary enjoyment as we can be grateful to them the very moment they happen—not tomorrow, and not some other time when looking back to a better time in our lives. The only time that matters is now.

  1. Antifragility

“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.”

— Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

Everyone loves to hear about the hero’s journey of an underdog that against all the odds, overcomes the obstacles that life throws at his feet and stands out victorious.  In each of our stories, there is always drama and there is always a resolve in the end. There are other characters too, some of which are heroes and others are villains. We all hit rock bottom at times, but there is only one way out of that spot, and that way is up. Everything we experience, both good and bad, are all colors in a pallet that form the picture of “us.”

The time traveler from the future knows what shaped him into the person he is. He knows that he was a piece of steel and life was a strong blacksmith, hitting the steel with consecutive hard blows and putting it through fire. Though, he doesn’t mind as it shaped him into a sword that cuts through anything.  Because of adversity, the time traveler became antifragile.

“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way, becomes the way.”

— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Antifragility is a concept developed by Professor Nassim Nicholas Taleb and it describes the capability of becoming stronger as a response to a stressor or a source of harm. The time traveler knows that each mistake, failure, disappointment, heartbreak, loss, and every obstacle in the way, are all shaping him into a stronger person. The time traveler doesn’t step away from these experiences but rather charges into them.

  1. Forgiveness and kindness

“be about ten times more magnanimous than you believe yourself capable of being. Your life will be a hundred times better for it. This is good advice for anyone at any age, but particularly for those in their twenties.”

— Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things

Magnanimous, another big and unknown word. I too wasn’t aware of its existence and meaning. It is now one of the most significant and meaningful words I know. It means being generous or forgiving, especially towards a rival or less powerful person.

We all make mistakes, bad choices, and we are all wronged at one point or another. We fight with each other for significant and insignificant things. We hold grudges and are hard to others and to ourselves. We are afraid of shame and pain, and we avoid them or suppress them to the extent that they become our private prisons.  We are afraid we are inadequate and unworthy. We let fear win over hope. We surrender hope to defeat. But to paraphrase a famous quote by Hemingway, I say this: “Hope can be destroyed, but it cannot be defeated.”

“Just because someone stumbles, loses their way doesn’t mean they are lost forever.”

— Charles Xavier, X-Men: Days of Future Past

Mindfulness and antifragility made the time traveler from the future into a magnanimous person. He knows of things that hold value and of things that don’t. He knows of bad decisions, mistakes, situations, and people. He knows that often what seems to be a curse, it is a blessing. Having this much knowledge made him into a forgiving, generous, and kind person, to others and to himself. Especially to himself, a less powerful person.  He understands that his younger self needs to fail, suffer, and be weak and lost because tomorrow will be a great person out of it.

  1. Wisdom

Skills can be taught and knowledge can be developed any day. Wisdom can’t. Wisdom is a climb, a personal climb.  A long and steep climb. It takes time, effort, and struggle to reach the top.

Wisdom can’t be hijacked and it can’t be forced. Although, two things can be done. The first one is to borrow the wisdom of older and more experienced people and take their word for granted. The second one is to act as an older and more experienced person. It forces a more thoughtful and considerate mental approach model to use when making choices and decisions. These two things are what the time traveler from the future has to do and what he does. Perhaps it works, I can’t know.

  1. Meta-confidence and motivation

“The thing about motivation is that it’s not only a three-part chain, but an endless loop: Inspiration → Motivation → Action → Inspiration → Motivation → Action → Etc. Your actions create further emotional reactions and inspirations and move on to motivate your future actions. Taking advantage of this knowledge, we can actually reorient our mindset in the following way: Action → Inspiration → Motivation”

— Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

Self-limiting beliefs and self-doubt are inevitable. Dark clouds and rainy days are inevitable. On such days, one chooses to restrict oneself around some walls, when another one catches an umbrella and goes out because one had done this many times before and wasn’t hurt in the process. Confidence is that umbrella.

Confidence is trust and belief in the ability to take on a challenge in a field. Confidence is built by competence, which is the demonstration of actions, proficiency, and of high performance.

Our present selves are not yet accomplished and capable, which creates fear, and fear is paralyzing. In the face of fear and of the unknown, most people tremble. Most people are cowards. There are a few though, some call them crazy and others call them heroes, who face the fear and act despite it or because of it. Heroes are not cowards and cowards are never heroes. Heroes fight.

The time traveler from the future did things, took risks, was courageous, put in the hard work, and he is now here for me and for you too. He can fly because he is confident he can fly as he did fly many times before. And he knows I can do it as well because after all we are the same person. There is only one difference between us. For him, jumping from the cliff and expecting to fly, it was a leap of faith, although for me it is an expectation. If actions drive inspiration and if inspiration drives motivation, then why shouldn’t we be our sources of inspiration? Why shouldn’t we be our own heroes?

  1. Growth mindset

“When people believe their basic qualities can be developed, failures may still hurt, but failures don’t define them. And if abilities can be expanded—if change and growth are possible—then there are still many paths to success.”

— Carol Dweck, Mindset

We are all born with potential and unique gifts. But most of us, we throw our potential in a waste basket along with our dreams and ambitions. Why? Because we are lazy and because of our fear of failure. Potential develops in the stretch of time and with effort. It requires consistency and hard work, and we are unwilling to do these things. Why should we go for the hard stuff, when there is an easy way out? I get it, I do.

Although, out of meta-confidence and motivation appears an itch on our skin and we cannot get rid of it, no matter how hard we scratch it. That itch is the “growth mindset.” The growth mindset is a concept developed by the psychologist Carol Dweck. She argues anyone’s abilities can be improved through effort and dedication, and that failures and obstacles are just a part of the process of getting better.

At its core, a growth mindset is an indisputable belief that skills and abilities can change and are not fixed-same goes with one’s life. A belief which is a mantra for the time traveler from the future. He knows well of his potential and abilities in the future. He is confident and motivated, knowing his skills can be improved.  That is also why, he will struggle to reach his potential, make the hard choices, and do the hard things, because he knows of his transformation to somebody greater and more powerful.

  1. Energy

“Today you want to daydream of your idea being a huge success so you can enjoy the feeling. Let your ideas for the future fuel your energy today. No matter what you want to do in life, higher energy will help you get there.”

— Scott Adams, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big

There is nothing much to say here but two powerful concepts:

  1. Something to look forward to when waking up in the morning.
  2. Something to look forward to and ease the pain when the way gets tough.

9. Focus

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully.”

— Steve Jobs

Filter coffee is the best thing in the world. A close second Is filtering out shit that don’t matter while keeping only the best ingredients. Only the best decisions and choices. Everything matters, good and bad, small details or grand schemes, but if there is an end goal, we might as well help ourselves get there faster.

The time traveler from the future, knows already of the outcome of the war. He knows about victory and he is aware that it can’t be gained without a few or many sacrifices. He is also aware of casualties and loss, and he can minimize them. He can be strategic about his decisions. He prioritizes smart choices, says yes to the right stuff, and says no to the wrong stuff. He knows when to focus and stick to something or when to quit if it is the better choice.

Knowledge made the time traveler from the future into a commander, and his focus and willpower turned him into an unstoppable machine. He refuses to quit when the way gets hard as he can survive any hardship in his path, like he did many times before. He refuses to give in to momentary comfort or panic and fear, but instead all his choices are made to amplify the long-term benefits.

  1. Less anxiety and fear

“What if all those things that make up your story, the hard stuff and the good stuff, all the fears and dreams—what if all of it matters? I want to suggest the possibility that right now, today, tonight, you are living a story that is entirely unique, a story that is sacred and priceless, one where no one else can play your part.”

— Jamie Tworkowski, If You Feel Too Much

To me, anxiety is a series of “What if questions” What if I fail? What if I succeed? What if history repeats itself? What if I did otherwise? What if my choice is the wrong choice? What if I screw up something good? What if I had said one thing instead of another? What if everyone mocks me? What if my family and friends hate me? What if I die of embarrassment?

They are all a series of questions with a negative attribution. They either assume there is a better choice or they assume bad things happen. But, there is always a choice to be made, and bad things happen all the time. The time traveler from the future knows the answers to these questions and doesn’t stress about them. Doubt is removed from the equation. The time traveler from the future knows whether something is worth a pursue or not, whether a wrong choice in the end is the best option, and whether he can survive and become stronger out of all these actions, risks, and decisions.

Anxiety is an egg and fear is the dragon that hatches out of it. Yet, the dragon won’t hatch in the absence of warmth and moisture, and won’t grow without nourishment—I am not an expert on dragon science, so let this one slip. The time traveler from the future doesn’t give in to drama or to the fear of missing out. Nurturing the egg is not an option.

And as I was brewing my filtered coffee, I thought coffee must not be the best thing in the world. I was troubled about this belief, and it got me thinking about other beliefs too.

If we can believe in saints, why shouldn’t we believe in ourselves and a version of ourselves who wants to do more and be more? Why shouldn’t we be time travelers from the future? If there are no available heroes around, why shouldn’t create our own heroes by making ourselves the heroes? If we lack purpose, why don’t we create it? If our present sucks, isn’t it ours to keep or change? Can we get past the present? Can we believe in a better tomorrow?

And if we are stuck today, tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther—thanks again, Mr. Fitzgerald. Today we might all be faceless characters, but each one of us is on a hero’s journey. And we will become heroes along the way if we believe we can and strive to be heroes, and if we embrace the remote possibilities that are both longed and feared—thank you, Mr. Hesse. We can become heroes if we learn to act like heroes. Heroes act, heroes fight. We need to act and fight, today, for a better tomorrow. We can become Superhumans of Tomorrow.

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