Scenarios and The Reverse Time Machine

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I first heard about the idea of a reverse time machine in a conversation with James Altucher and Kevin Kelly.  It was on Altucher’s podcast.

Kevin Kelly is a co-founder of Wired Magazine. He recently wrote a book called, The Inevitable. Understanding the 12 Technological Forces that will Shape our Future. 

The podcast consists of the the two going over each of the 12 forces.  There were two that really hit home with me; Reverse Time Machine and Scenarios.


Reverse Time Machine is the idea of predicting what will happen in the future and then going backwards to try and figure out how to make the prediction come true.  Kelly gives an example of Elon Musk going into the future to see civilian or commercial space travel, then going back to present day and taking the steps to make it happen.  Which he and others certainly will do.  Once you can see the future, you can develop a way to get from here to there.

Scenarios has do to do with not making a prediction but rather realizing that what you predict will happen must be plausible.  You look at the most extreme possibilities which allows you to predict what could happen.  As an example, a transportation system made up entirely of flying cars is most likely not possible.  At least within the next 50-100 years.  But driverless cars is very possible.  Probably within the next 15-20 years if not sooner.

If you are in the Auto industry you can begin to set yourself up to succeed with the extreme possibility that most if not all cars will be driverless before you retire.


What does this have to do with you and me?

When I got back to my desk I started scribbling notes down vigorously  I wanted to see how we could use these two Forces to our advantage on a personal level.  How could we make our lives better using Reverse Time Machines and Scenarios?

Here is what I did.  I considered 5 categories that I am most interested in or concerned about.  Where would I be in 20 years, 2036?  Here are my 5 categories.  Feel free to create your own or use these.


5 categories

I then came up with 3 scenarios as to where I would be in each of these categories in 2036.  The scenarios were Optimal, Status Quo (meaning exactly the same as it is now), and Worst Case.


3 scenarios



From there, I describe 10 factors or 10 things I can do to achieve each of these scenarios.  How can I achieve my optimal health in 2036?  What activities and habits must I have to keep the status quo or get to the worse case scenario?


The Hypothesis

I am thinking that the method of using a reverse time machine coupled with scenarios will allow me to predict where I will be in each of the 5 categories in 20 years.  In addition, by using Optimal, Status Quo and Worst Case scenarios, I put the power to succeed in my own hands.  I also put the power to fail in my own hands.  By describing what I need to do to achieve my optimal health or relationships or financial position, I am creating a blueprint.  A blueprint that I can use for success in each category.


Here is an example using the Health and Fitness category with the Optimal scenario.

Category: Health/Fitness

What is my Optimal Health in 2036?

  1. 189 pounds ( I am 6 foot with mid-large frame)
  2. Able to run 5 miles easily and often.
  3. Normal blood pressure
  4. Disease free
  5. Limited stress
  6. Visible muscle tone
  7. Visible abdominal muscles
  8. Thin looking face
  9. Well rested
  10. Size 32 jeans.


I’m sure there are some things I’m not thinking of, this isn’t a perfect science.  Just as I understand that not all of these factors are controllable.  Especially some diseases like cancer.  But for the most part, I have complete power over the status of my health and fitness.  And there are certain preventable measures I can take to ward off some cancers.


From here I look at each of the 10 items above and create ways to get to my desired goal.

  • How must my diet change in order to get to my desired weight of 189 pounds?
  • What plan can I create where I can get to running 5 miles easily and often?
  • What exercises do I need to do in order to have visible muscle tone?
  • What habits must I start to be well rested with very little stress?


What do you think?  Is this method something you can work with to achieve your goals?


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