Personal Improvement

Level Up Your Life With Steve Kamb

Updated on March 27, 2020 Updated on March 27, 2020
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Level Up Your Life with Steve Kamb

Want to level up your life? Steve Kamb from Nerd Fitness joins us to discuss turning your life into a game.

We’ve discussed the ways being physically fit and financially fit are similar. Steve Kamb learned that when he started Nerd Fitness. His health improved alongside his finances. He turned his life into a video game with himself as the protagonist. Now he’s written a book on how we can do that too, Level Up Your Life.

Nerd Fitness

Steve was working a sales job he hated and wasn’t very good at when he saw Tim Ferris’s book, The Four Hour Work Week. In the book, Ferris details how to start a very small company that solves a problem that a lot of people have.

Steve was becoming increasingly interested in fitness and if there is a problem a lot of people have, (aside from money problems. LMM will handle those) it’s being unfit and unhealthy.

As with any good side hustle, you need to find a niche. There are a lot of fitness sites out there. There aren’t a lot of fitness sites geared toward people who love video games. Steve bought his domain at Hostgator and sat on it for a year. He didn’t know the first thing about building a website.

After a new job, Steve decided to make the leap and start really working on Nerd Fitness. He quit his job with about eight weeks of runway money and 3,000 subscribers.

He wrote an e-book that sold enough copies to keep the lights on and he worked a series of odd jobs to fill in the gaps. He was right to make the leap. Within six months, the site was generating $2-3 a month.

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Motivation Is Not Enough

The problem with motivation and willpower is that they’re fleeting. We’re all motivated in the new year to save money, lose weight, quit smoking. We all have the willpower to resist the cookies in the beginning. How motivated are you in February? How many cookies did you eat in March? Steve advocates putting systems in place that will help you succeed.

He wanted to spend less time watching television and more time working on the site, so he got rid of cable. He would eat the entire bag of chips in one sitting so he stopped buying chips. People are lazy, we really are!

Of course, you can leave the house at 9:00 pm to procure the chips, but you probably won’t. No motivation or discipline needed for this strategy. You have a system in place that supports your goals.

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Antifragile by Nassim Taleb teaches that not all chaos is bad. There are three types of things; fragile things that break when you drop them, sturdy things that survive the fall intact, and antigragile things that get stronger from the impact.

Steve applied this to fitness. Throwing the unexpected, the chaos, at your body strengthens it and makes it grow. The same theory can help improve your life too. Pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone makes you a stronger, better person.

Steve drew up a list of things he wanted to accomplish, a bucket list and published it so his readers would help keep him accountable. He made conquering the list a game. Every time he crossed something off, he awarded himself points and moved to the next thing on the list.

Success Through Habits

Thomas is a big believer in the power of habit too. About 40% of our daily activities are habits. We are also largely a product of our environment. So we have to build habits and create an environment that supports us in reaching our goals.

Do you browse Reddit in the afternoon when you should be working? Block the site. Do you hit the snooze three times instead of getting up to run? Move the alarm clock into another room so you have to get out of bed to shut it off.

Life shouldn’t be a slog through. When you have reached a goal, it’s important to reward yourself as a way to reinforce the behavior. Be careful what you choose as a reward, though. A box of Girl Scout cookies for sticking to your diet does nothing to reinforce weight loss.

You’re (sadly) not a puppy. Don’t treat yourself with food. Now that you’ve lost some weight and your clothes don’t fit properly, buy some new ones. Buy slightly smaller than you need them t as a way to further motivate yourself towards continued weight loss.

The Parallels Between Money And Fitness

The two things are so closely linked. We all know what we should be doing. No one thinks cake is a healthier choice than a carrot. Everyone knows that not paying your credit card bills in full each month will cost you lots of money in interest.

Knowing something and acting on that knowledge though are two different things. Health and finances both require willpower and discipline and those things will last longer if you have habits and systems in place to support you along the way.

It’s Okay To Say No

“No” is a complete sentence. Take a moment to think about that because when it finally sunk in for me, it was a big lesson. You can’t say yes to everything nor are you obligated to. Steve has a “Hell Yes” or “Hell No” policy. If you say yes to something, it should be something you’re excited about. If you say no, it should be something you would never do.

Say no to things that don’t line up with your philosophy. Steve once turned down what was probably a check with a bountiful number of zeros on it because something about the offer just didn’t fit with the image he had of himself and of his site.

Choose Your Own Adventure

Day to day life can be boring! We’re not all traveling the world, driving race cars for a living or being a cowboy like we thought we would be when we were six. But you can make even mundane stuff into a game and amass points for doing those kinds of everyday tasks. Wear a cape while you do squats or balance your checkbook. Six-year-old you would have and he or she was having a lot more fun than you!

Show Notes

Sir Moch-A-Lot: An Imperial Stout brewed in Iowa.

Nerd Fitness: Steve’s site dedicated to getting you healthy.

Level Up Your Life: Steve’s brand new book, just in time for Christmas.

LMM Community: Join the money revolution!

Candice Elliott - Senior Editor
Candice Elliott is a substantial contributor to Listen Money Matters. She has been a personal finance writer since 2013 and has written extensively on student loan debt, investing, and credit. She has successfully navigated these areas in her own life and knows how to help others do the same. Candice has answered thousands of questions from the LMM community and spent countless hours doing research for hundreds of personal finance articles. She happily calls New Orleans, Louisiana home-the most fun city in the world.

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