You are Luke Skywalker.
You are the Goonies. You are Katniss Everdeen. You are Bilbo Baggins, Hermoine Granger, Jane Eyre, and Neo. Your humble beginnings belie the greatness that is within you. You have a destiny, and a role to fill that no one else can. Every experience, every thought, action, regret, and victory has uniquely shaped you like the fingers of a potter at work on a masterpiece. There is no one like you in all the world.
So why does it feel like you’re playing dead body #3 instead of the hero of the story?
Steve Kamb’s inspirational book, “Level Up Your Life,” takes readers out of the backstory of their lives and thrusts them straight into the action by showing us what we can learn from the great adventurers of film, television, and video games.
In the opening chapters, Kamb cites the book, “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying,” which reveals the number one regret of those in their last moments of life—“They wished they’d had the courage to live lives true to themselves, as opposed to the lives others expected of them.”
Take a moment with that sentence. Turn it over in your mind and dwell on it.
These people wished, above all else, that they’d had the courage to be the heroes of their stories, rather than relegating themselves to being extras.
Imagine what would have happened if Neo had taken the blue pill, waking up in his bed the next day, never finding out how deep the rabbit hole truly went. Imagine if Katniss had shied away from leading the rebellion, if she had simply opted to be like the many other contestants of the Hunger Games, seeking to kill and go home rather than to challenge and change a corrupt system?
The world would have been a much darker place, indeed.
But, fortunately, there came a moment in each of these heroes’ lives that forced them to choose, that shook them up and awakened the dissatisfaction latent in each of them—a dissatisfaction which proved to be the seeds of their future heroism. In the 1999 sci-fi film, “The Matrix,” the hero, Neo, is offered a choice by a mysterious stranger by the name of Morpheus. In one hand, Morpheus holds a blue pill, and if Neo chooses to swallow it, he will live out the rest of his days as a normal man, typing away in a cubicle somewhere in a hi-rise office building. In the other hand, however, Morpheus holds the red pill. It is this pill which will awaken Neo to the fact that his reality is actually a simulation in which most humans are unknowingly trapped within by sentient machines, which use their bodies for power in the real world. In Morpheus’s hands lie the choice Neo must make—will he maintain the comfortable-yet-uncomfortable status quo, or will he embrace the dangerous new world of his destiny, the world he was made for?
It was just such a moment which drove author and blogger, Steve Kamb, to swallow the red pill and take control of his life.
In 2007, the hands of Morpheus took the form of a panic attack as Kamb returned home on a flight to San Diego. Kamb realized that what he was returning to wasn’t life—it was a living death. His was a job he was ill-suited to, and he spent much of his free time trying to forget the stress and monotony of his days by plunging himself into pursuits which led him nowhere.
Kamb writes that his “afternoons were spent playing video games, weekends were spent getting drunk at bars or drinking and playing Everquest, and Sundays were reserved for walking along the beach, fighting back tears, wondering what’s wrong, and asking myself, “Am I really supposed to be this unhappy for the next forty years?”
At some point, we all ask ourselves this question. Are we doomed to unhappiness?
No. We’re not.
Kamb chose to take the red pill, and now lives a life of adventure, travelling, writing, and enjoying his life like never before. He has found his calling, and now uses his story, in the form of his book, to inspire others to do the same. He was inspired by the very games and movies which once held him prisoner in his off hours, and tried an experiment—he began to live his life as if he were the protagonist of an adventure game or movie, and now teaches his readers how to take what they love and use it for inspiration to level up their lives.
It’s time to start your own adventure. Don’t wait for Morpheus to come to you—his ways are mysterious, and he may not come at all. Here are three steps you can take to go to him, and begin the epic journey of reclaiming your life.
Find Your Alter Ego.
Kamb began his own journey by figuring out his “alter ego,” the superhero who lived within him—the man he ultimately wanted to become. This superhero version of himself was capable of bigger and better things, capable not only of realizing his dreams and ambitions, but acting on them as well.