Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

091: Steve Kamb on Why Nerds Should Rule the World [Podcast]

In high school, nerds were the kids everyone secretly envied and feared. Perhaps because we knew that one day they’d sign our paychecks, and invent cool stuff like the iPhone and Twitter. One nerd in particular is flipping the multi-billion dollar fitness industry on its head.

Steve Kamb on Why Nerds Should Rule the World

Steve Kamb is the most physically fit nerd I know. In fact, he’s the most physically fit person I know, period. He is ripped. And he thinks Zelda is the best video game ever made. Cool, right?

As the founder and rebel leader of Nerd Fitness, Steve is dedicated to “helping desk jockeys, nerds, and average Joes level up their lives.” His unique program applies video game principles and behavioral psychology to physical fitness, and has transformed the lives of over 5,000 rebels.

This week on The Portfolio Life, Steve and I talk about how he started building a community of 280,000 subscribers (and counting) while working on cruise ships with rock stars.

Listen in as we discuss sacrificing comfort and security to commit to your community, and why prioritizing happiness is the key to unlocking your potential in life and work.

Listen to the podcast

To listen to the show, click the player below (If you are reading this via email or RSS, please click here).


Play your way to progress

These days people seem obsessed with productivity. A new app is released every other week and folks scramble to move their task lists again. They buy Moleskines by the stack, and jump on trendy methodology bandwagons in the hopes of feeling fulfilled every time they check something off.

But this sense of accomplishment is fleeting and is often dwarfed by the ever growing mountain of to-dos in their inbox.

What if we’ve been approaching goal-setting all wrong? What if the key to achieving our dreams lies hidden in the code of our favorite video games?

One of the things I found most interesting about Steve Kamb’s gamification of physical fitness is that it actually creates the freedom to reach your goals on your own terms. Not only is it fun, it works!

By defining our goals in the context of a game, and breaking down milestones into levels to complete, we set ourselves up for success and happiness.

Leveling up your life goes beyond working out and eating right. Steve has witnessed thousands of people use gamification to change their lives and work to accomplish adventures they never dreamed of.

Show highlights

In this episode, Steve and I discuss:

  • How to find a tribe of rebels for your cause
  • The hidden principle behind video game addiction
  • Developing an alter ego of your day job
  • Writing as a means of serving your tribe
  • The underestimated power of strategic guest posting
  • Gaining influence with influencers
  • Why 1,000 subscribers is a significant milestone
  • How to give your audience a voice of their own
  • The value of involving your tribe in the creative process

Quotes and takeaways

  • When we are making progress, we tend to be happier.
  • Prioritize your life and work for happiness.
  • Life can be a game. You can play throughout life and work.
  • You learn a lot from your community.

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Which video game do you want your life to be like? How can you apply the progress principle to your work? Share in the comments

About Jeff Goins

I write books and help writers get their work out into the world. I am the best-selling author of four books, including The Art of Work. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

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  • Andrew Mark Kolkman

    I’ve started a blog about balancing life recently, but knew something was missing. I’ve taken some of your courses and know that you’ve mentioned to make my topic narrower so that it is directed towards a specific group. After listening to this podcast, I see this emphasized all the more. Thank you for the constant encouragement in this regard, it is incredibly helpful.

  • Jeff, check audio sync at 24 minutes left and on. Hopefully it’s just a problem on my end.

    • Hey Brandon – thanks for letting us know. We’ve got the audio file updated and ready to go. 🙂

  • ricardo salesa

    wow! brilliant ideas! 😀 thanks man… you are a good writer! Super Bowl 2016 live online

  • Hey guys. Loved this episode.

    I remember Ramit Sethi mentioning Steve and his site. But this episode just closed me all around.

    I subscribed to the site and purchased the Audible book.

    But Jeff, I’m going to have to listen at 3.5(?) speed at this point to keep up with your solid book recos…

    • Yes! 3x for the win. And holy cow… Blaster Master?! Loved that game.

  • I’ve read this book. It’s awesome!! I’m building my epic quests list now. Already wrote my “life at level 50” and origin stories. I highly recommend the book!

  • Chelle Vess

    I loved this interview and concept. I think it will not only be helpful for me but I plan to also use this as motivation for my 13 year old who is very video game driven but struggles to get daily chores and homework turned in. I mentioned it to him and he’s pretty stoked on the concept.

    I also have a blog, mostly Jeff is to blame for making me say “I’m a Writer” out loud about 2 years ago. It’s been off and on since, but right now I’m very concentrated on making a regular habit of daily writing and weekly publishing. I have been meeting my own goal of publishing once a week but I feel like I haven’t gained any audience traction in months. Steve, you mentioned an article about how to not suck at blogging I think? Or why I suck at blogging… something like that. Who wrote it and is it still around?

    Jeff thanks for all you do! I’ve been so focused on the writing that I just discovered the podcast a couple months ago and have been binge listening as often as I can. It has been very awesome to see your transformation in the last couple of years. Keep up the fantastic work!