Level Up Your Life, Steve Kamb

This was a light and easy read (listen) about goal setting and stepping out of the ordinary and into a life of more fun and adventure.  The author, Steve Kamb, has taken the process of stepping up the difficulty of challenges one encounters, level by level in video game play, and he applies it to real life.  He has created a following he calls “The Rebellion” (a Star Wars reference) that is committed to a life of adventures and maintaining a level of fitness to always be ready for them.  He encourages his readers to follow in the steps of greats like Indiana Jones, the Goonies, Batman, and other adventurers that I loved in my own childhood (and still do today).

The book reminded me of the great John Goddard and his famous Goddard’s list.  For those not familiar, John Goddard created a life list of 127 goals he wanted to accomplish in his lifetime.  It included rivers he wanted to explore (e.g. The Amazon and the Nile), mountains he wanted to climb (e.g. Everest and Kilimanjaro), lakes to swim (e.g. Lake Victoria and Lake Nicaragua), things to do (e.g. dive in a submarine and play the flute).  Also known commonly as a “bucket list”, the Goddard’s list inspires me.  Since creating the list at age 15, John Goddard has accomplished 109 of the 127 items on the list.  Amazing.

While Level Up Your Life was a motivating read filled with throwbacks to so many of my favorite childhood heroes and superheroes, the thing I will remember most is the concept of collecting underpants.  Early in the book, Kamb tells the reader about an episode of South Park where the kids learn about the underpants gnomes and their mission of collecting underpants.  These gnomes sneak into bedrooms while people sleep and steal underpants.  The gnomes don’t know why they are collecting underpants.  Their game plan is simply to 1) collect underpants, 2) ?, 3) profit.  What comes between the collection of underpants and profit?  This remains unknown.

My wife and I listened to this story of the underpants gnomes together during a car ride.  When the author finished explaining, we both literally looked at each other with both guilt and shame.  We both knew exactly what the other was thinking.  “Have we been collecting underpants?”  I love to read books.  I love to learn.  I love to collect knowledge.  Oh no.  Am I collecting underpants?  Am I an underpants gnome?

I’m proud of the things I’ve accomplished in my life.  There’s still much that I would like to do.  When I first heard about John Goddard fifteen years ago, I wrote my own list.  I’ve been working on my list bit by bit and many items remain.  Yet, I’m learning that both knowledge and experiences are just different shapes and sizes of underpants.  I am guilty of being an underpants gnome.  But sometimes awareness is all it takes to see the folly of our ways.  I’m thankful to know about the underpants gnomes.  If it weren’t for them, this blog may never have come to be.

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