Hey there buddy!
How was your birthday?
Today was your 17th birthday, right?
Who are you?
You don’t recognize me? Take a wild guess.
I don’t know, but I’m scared.
You shouldn’t be, I’m you, from the future.
Oh, that’s it?
You don’t believe me? Ask me something only you know.
I didn’t say I don’t believe you.
I believe you.
So… a stranger suddenly appears in your room, he tells you he’s the future version of yourself and you believe him?
Yes, why wouldn’t I?
Well, I guess you’re right, why wouldn’t you? I forgot that when I was your age I used to believe all kinds of random stuff so this would have been a somehow acceptable scenario at the time.
Why are you here?
I don’t know, why are you here?
I live here, this is my room.
Right, yes, I remember now, I came to give you some advice.
What kind of advice?
Life advise of course.
Do I ever get to kiss a girl?
You do actually.
More than one.
How does it feel?
You’ll find out.
In about a year.
I can die in peace now.
If you die I die too.
It’s just an expression, but wait, why are we speaking English?
I don’t know that’s just the way it is.
So I speak English in the future?
Not just English you get to learn many languages.
So life does get better for me after all?
Not just better, like much much better, like over 9000 times better.
Over 9000… I can see that, as I even get to travel backward in time apparently.
Actually, you don’t, sorry about that, this is just a dream, and that’s why we speak English, our dreams are always in English.
I see, so how old are you now?
I’m 30. I mean you are 30. We are 30.
So, I get to kiss a girl, learn many languages and I even get to live until 30??? That’s just amazing, what else, do I get to live in Japan?
You do, and not just in Japan.
That’s for you to find out, but one of the reasons I’m here is to tell you to hang in there, I know life’s a hell right now; I know things at school and at home are not as good as they could be, to put it mildly. I know you’ve been contemplating suicide. I know you worry about many things, including what other people think of you. And I want you to know that’s normal at your age, and I want you to know it will all be over soon, all those people that, for whatever reason make your life a living hell, will all be gone for good, not gone from this world, just gone from your life. And remember your life is not perfect, but you have everything you need to be happy and to be a good person.
I know some people at school make fun of you because your nose is too big can’t fit in, or because of your taste in music, hell I even remember someone making fun of you because your last name ends with an A, how crazy was that? And this brings us to the first important thing I need you to learn “remember the monkeys”.
Ok, I got it.
You’re not gonna ask what monkeys?
No, should I?
Ok, what monkeys?
Now listen carefully: A group of scientists placed five monkeys in a cage, and in the middle, a ladder with bananas on top.
Every time a monkey went up the ladder, the scientists soaked the rest of the monkeys with cold water.
After a while, every time a monkey would start up the ladder, the others would pull it down and beat it up.
After a time, no monkey would dare try climbing the ladder, no matter how great the temptation.
The scientists then decided to replace one of the monkeys. The first thing this new monkey did was start to climb the ladder. Immediately, the others pulled him down and beat him up.
After several beatings, the new monkey learned never to go up the ladder, even though there was no evident reason not to, aside from the beatings.
The second monkey was substituted and the same occurred. The first monkey participated in the beating of the second monkey. A third monkey was changed and the same was repeated. The fourth monkey was changed, resulting in the same, before the fifth was finally replaced as well.
What was left was a group of five monkeys that – without ever having received a cold shower – continued to beat up any monkey who attempted to climb the ladder.
If it was possible to ask the monkeys why they beat up on all those who attempted to climb the ladder, their most likely answer would be “I don’t know. It’s just how things are done around here.”
Now if you ever wondered why you are bullied, just remember the monkeys.
Is that story even true?
Of course, everything on the internet is true.
Ok, got it, is that all?
No, we’re just getting started, grab a pen; there is some important stuff you’ll need to get right.
The second thing I need to teach you is that there are 200 other countries out there, so don’t sweat it, there will be times in your life when you will be fed up of everything, maybe you hate your job, maybe your girlfriend broke up with you, maybe you killed someone, doesn’t matter, in times like this you need to remember there are other 200 countries out there, so just leave and start again. And there will be times when everything’s perfect in your life but you still have to move to another country for change’s sake. That’s also ok because life is a journey and you need to keep moving forward, so remember this in the good times and the bad ones.
Yes, it may happen, you never know.
Ok, 1. Remember the monkeys 2. There are 200 other countries, what else?
The third one is that there are a few things I need you to start nurturing, the first one is your sense of smell.
As you may already know, your sense of smell is slightly more developed than others, but I need you to start training it now, you’ll learn why later. Right now your nose is more sensitive than others but you can’t recognize the scents. One way to train yourself in nose work goes like this, you need a friend to help you, you will leave the room and he will hide something with a particular smell under a box or cup, and then you have to choose which box contains the object, after a few months, and as you progress and your sense of smells develops, he will hide it anywhere in the room or in the house, and you’ll have to find it blindfolded relying only on your smell.
So I’m like a dog in the future?
Yes, except that you’re not, you’re still human. But you can’t tell anyone about it, if your friend asks why you need to learn nose work, just tell him it sounds fun or that you need it for some cold reading experiment or anything like that. You can only tell your past self, providing you get to travel in time somehow.
But I would need to travel in space first because the earth is not in the same place in space now as it was in the past or it will be in the future.
Time and space are linked together, so yes. It’s just hypothetical anyway.
But if I talk to my past self wouldn’t that cause some kind of paradox? Like altering my present self and eventually preventing me to go back to the past to talk to my past self?
No, it would only change your present self, so the future self is the present version of yourself that has been influenced by your future self but has no memory of the meeting, thus closing the loop.
We must be really fun at parties, right?
How long have you been waiting to say that?
It just came to mind after you mentioned the nose work.
We don’t attend parties.
Why is that?
Because there are people there.
Do you have any other questions?
Yes, like 6.
Ok, you get to ask one now.
When was the last time you talked to your mother?
I don’t know a couple of weeks, a couple of months ago, couldn’t say for sure. Why is that?
I don’t know, just wondering,
Is that a soft spot there? I thought we didn’t have one.
Ok, so now that we’re on it, I’ve got bad news, your relationship with your family is not the best one and you’re partial to blame for it, but don’t worry, there’s still time to fix it, you only need to do 2 things, the first one keep in touch with them, not like every day, but an email or a phone call every few weeks is not really all that hard, isn’t it? And the second one tells them that you love them, that’s all it takes. You may have different opinions but they all love you (in their own ways) and they want the best for you. And if you can master the courage to do so, also tell people on the street that you love them, not in a creepy way, or in a gay way, learn to say it in an honest way, like you mean it, and like if it was the most normal thing in the world, like if you were asking for the time or for directions. You know you are all connected, biologically, chemically, atomically, and loving everyone is just the right thing to do. Telling them so just happens to be something of an added bonus.
Ok, 1. Remember the monkeys. 2. There are 200 other countries. 3 Nose work 4. Tell family you love them. What else?
When was the last time you talked to yourself?
I don’t know, right now?
Yes, and that’s what you have to remember, talking to yourself is your key to sanity.
You mean “sanity”
Yes, sanity, and understanding, that’s how you get to deload, deload means to let all those things out that you can’t tell anyone else. And anyway you have no friends or anyone to tell them to, so you have to learn to talk and listen to yourself and that’s how you will find the solution to your problems, you will always advice yourself to make the best possible rational decision based on the information available. Most of the times that decision will go against the norm but still, you must always trust your gut feeling and never ever ignore your instincts.
And the reason you know it’s the right decision is that you use a technical way to reach it, not a social one, or a moral one, or a political, religious or economic one, always a technical one. And the way to find it is always talking to yourself, because you know better and in this case knowing better just means you have more information available than what lies on the surface. And by talking to yourself you are able to dig deeper and deeper into your subconscious mind until you find the right answer reached by the right decision-making process.
There are many ways to talk to yourself, you can use two different voices, you can make a recording and reply to it, you can write down a conversation with two or more people taking part in it, and each one of them can have different points of views, and refute each other. The one I recommend though is using two different voices and replying to yourself, just remember to always do it in public places, like the subway or the bus, because knowing that people are listening to you gives you more pressure to come up with a good argument, or at least a funny one, ideally both.
That’s too much; I’m trying to fly under the radar in case you haven’t noticed. I don’t want people looking at me and knowing what I think.
I know it’s hard, but it’s just the way it has to be. This doesn’t mean you won’t be making mistakes, of course, you will, some of them on purpose, and that’s good, that’s how you learn, sometimes you will make a mistake because it was the right thing to do at that time, and making a mistake fully aware it’s a mistake and why you are making it will actually raise your self-awareness, which is a superb feat to have in and of itself. And you will, through travel and experience, acquire a level of understanding and self-awareness that are not easily matched, and one day in the distant future, you will be put some of it in words, and write a blog staging hours worth of lengthy monologues for all of your fans to enjoy.
Do I have a lot of fans?
You have 4, and they are all Russians.
Russians? That’s interesting.
Oh, right, 1. Remember the monkeys. 2. There are 200 other countries. 3 Nose work 4. Tell family you love them. 5. Talk to yourself
Good job, now to the hard part, boy-girl relationships
So I’m not gay?
Absolutely not, well not yet at least
Not that there’s anything wrong with it, I was just wondering
Of course, you were, hey I haven’t seen Seinfeld in years that was a good show!
We can watch it now if you want
Now is not the right time, I have to tell you the real reason you haven’t been with a girl yet is that there is a ghost who is in love with you and she is using her supernatural powers to keep girls away from you.
No, I’ll tell you the real reason, so please listen carefully and don’t take this the wrong way, you are needy, weak, emotional and clingy, to put in one word: pathetic. That’s why girls don’t like you.
“don’t take this the wrong way…”
Not for me, I think you’re cool, I mean that’s how girls see you and that’s why you haven’t even come close to any physical contact with any real girl, so I need you to get stronger, both physically and emotionally, they both go together so don’t worry just yet.
I’ve been going to the gym and I read the book “the game”, I’m trying.
I know you’re trying but you’re doing it all wrong, I know you’ve been going to the gym, but you overtrain and that’s counterproductive, I know you go there every day, sometimes you stay there like 5 hours, and take too many classes, yoga, take won do, capoeira, boxing, judo, kung fu, ninjutsu, kendo, dancing, taichi, and you do it as a way to avoid reality by keeping yourself really busy so you don’t need to think about your life. So I’ll need you to chose just one class and stick with it.
Kung fu it is then
Good choice and the same goes for weightlifting, you are doing it all wrong, you spend like 2 hours a day with machines, no free weight, too much isolation and no compound exercises, too much cardio, you tear up your muscles, you eat poorly, you make all the mistakes a person can possibly make at the gym, and you’ll never get stronger that way. You just get weaker and tired.
I know, and I really try, but there’s just too much contradictory information out there and everyone says I have to do something different. If only someone could come from the future and tell me what really works and how to do it.
Today’s your lucky day then, look, I know you like exercise but too much is counterproductive, stick with kung fu, one or 2 hours a week on your non-lifting days, you can lift only 3 and sometimes 4 days a week, each time you will train only one muscle group and then you will let it rest for a week at least, so max 4 times a week to the gym for 45 minutes each max. if you want to get stronger you need to lift some heavy weight, there’s no way around it, and to lift some heavy weight you need to be at your best, which you won’t be if you tire yourself to death running a half marathon before lifting. You’re already underweight so cut the cardio altogether, or limit it to half an hour a week. Keep your warm-up sessions to 5 minutes uphill cycling or some light weight sets.
You need a routine that is simple, and easy to stick to, and you need to focus on compound lifts only, forget the isolation at least for now.
Write this down: day 1: legs, focusing on the squat, day 2: chest and triceps, focusing on the bench press, day 3: back and biceps, focusing on the deadlift, day 4: shoulders and abs, focusing on the military press.
At least a day break between workouts and when I say focusing I mean that’s your priority exercise, so you have to do it at the beginning of your work out when you’ve got plenty of energy to go around with, another reason why progressive overload doesn’t work for you, give it all you’ve got in the first few sets and slope downward from there.
You will be doing 3 to 4 sets of 6 to 8 rep with 80% of your max 1 rep weight and you will take at least 3 minutes break in between sent, I know now 3 minutes sounds like a lot and it will look like you do less than everyone else in the gym, but you shouldn’t care about that, I wish someone had told me this a few years ago, many people will give you many kinds of advice, but they are not you and they don’t know what works for you, they know what works for them, and they don’t spend half the time you do reading medical studies and trials to see what works and what doesn’t, so just ignore them politely and do what you have to do.
Forget about running and yoga, there will be time to get faster and flexible once you get stronger, getting stronger should be the priority now. Once you can bench press and squat at least your own weight, then you can maybe start thinking about yoga or Pilates.
Why are you so into this stuff?
To be honest I am not, I just I needed to explain it right to you so you can do it now and I don’t need to do it myself later.
I don’t think that’s how it works, but alright.
It was worth a try anyway, the reason you have to be stronger is so that you can have more confidence and can talk to girls, remember the age old question “why girls prefer douchebags?” is because they have confidence and that’s a turn on, good news is you don’t need to be a douche to be confident, strong people are also confident, the reason I mention girls is because you are 17 and curious of how it would be to hold a girls hand, well you know what, if you are strong, you won’t care what others think of you, especially girls, and you won’t care about rejection, girls will feel that and they will be attracted to you because they sense your confidence, as simple as that.
And that confidence will expand to every part of your life and help you deal with troublesome or uncomfortable situations, like if you need to go to a job interview, climb a mountain or tell someone what you really think.
There will be times when you will need to be strong and forget about the monkeys, the monkeys are only when something bad is done to you, but when someone else’s safety is on the line then you will need to interfere, the most common thing is to find man hitting woman on the street or woman hitting children or people hitting animals, or bullies making fun or being mean to someone, or students beating a weaker student.
Those are the times where being strong and confident will come more in handy.
Like a vigilante?
Not like a vigilante, like a person who does the right thing at the right time, there is no excuse for hitting a woman, a child or an animal, so you have to interfere because it’s just the right thing to do, like when you see a hungry homeless you have to invite him home and give him some food and shower and clean clothes, it’s just the right thing to do, if you are driving and there’s a hitchhiker or someone who need help or need a lift you stop and give them a lift, it’s not too hard and nothing to think twice about, if there’s stray or hurt animal you adopt him or find someone who can take care of him, you don’t leave him to die on the street. That’s now who you are.
That doesn’t mean you are a hero and there’s nothing to brag about, those are all extreme examples of situations when there’s just one course of action for you to take. You have to get used to doing what’s right and the sooner the better.
I invite the homeless to my home in the future?
Not just the homeless, you invite everyone home because you trust everyone and that has gotten you to where you are. You had hosted hundreds of travelers from many countries, which reminds me that there is a website you will need to sign up to, it’s called Couchsurfing, and it’s the website that will change your life for good and open you an infinite amount of doors
Ok, 1. Remember the monkeys. 2. There are 200 other countries. 3 Train your Nose 4. Tell family you love them. 5. Talk to yourself 6. Get stronger. 7. Do what’s right. 8. Sign up to Couchsurfing. Can I ask a question?
Sure, let me just grab a drink
Yes, what’s the question? *sips a martini*