This past weekend my wife completed the Tough Mudder in Vancouver/Whistler. I’m incredibly proud of her for enduring what looked (and sounded) like an intense and challenging course, as well as all those who took it on and made it through. As a spectator, I saw folks of all ages, shapes and sizes tackle the Tough Mudder, and all of them were to have taken and followed The Tough Mudder Pledge in order to complete the challenge with the true spirit of Tough Mudder in mind.
But as I read the pledge on the back of my wife’s shirt I realized that it can not only be applied to the challenge she had completed, but it can help people succeed in everyday life.
Let’s break down The Tough Mudder Pledge and see how it transcends the challenge:
1. I understand that Tough Mudder is not a race, but a challenge.
The idea behind Tough Mudder is that getting it done quickly isn’t the goal. Instead, getting it done is the goal. When you think about it, life works the same way. If you proceed through life as if it is a race, you will miss a lot of opportunities along the way, and won’t enjoy it nearly as much.
There’s a mindfulness and strategy that goes along with Tough Mudder in order to make sure that the challenge isn’t as taxing, and life operates the same way. Slow down. Take your time. Make sure that importance beats out urgency, because urgency shouldn’t be what takes up your time. The important stuff should.
2. I put teamwork and camaraderie before my course time.
This furthers the argument against being fast in that in order to succeed in life, you need to surround yourself with allies. They are the ones that are going to support you in good and in bad times. They are your “tribe”. If you speed past everything – and everyone – you will wind up alone. We’re not meant to be solitary creatures. We need support. We need companionship. We need each other.
In fact, success isn’t always measured by what we do, but how we do it and who we do it with.
3. I do not whine – kids whine.
Complaining gets us nowhere, let alone closer to what we really want. Rather than complain, push yourself through. Get through the things that are in your way so that you can get your way. In the Tough Mudder, you have to do that. You have deal with the obstacles in your way so that you can say that you made it through them all – that you got your way.
Wind your way through, don’t whine your way through.
4. I help my fellow Mudders complete the course.
This ties back to earlier parts of the pledge, where when you finish isn’t nearly as important as how you finish. My wife’s team (24 members in all) broke up into three factions so that all of them could complete the course – and worked together to do so in the process. Sure, one group finished ahead of others – but that was by design. It was all part of the plan. The other two factions finished later, but they worked as a team within the factions to ensure they all made it across the finish line.
By helping others, you help yourself. That doesn’t just apply to Tough Mudder, it applies to other aspects of life.
5. I overcome all fears.
Willpower is the fuel of Tough Mudder. I watched as those who crossed the finish line willed themselves around the final corner, knowing full well that they were mere moments away from completing one of the toughest tests of endurance they’ve ever faced. They took on Tough Mudder, despite the initimdiation of the obstacles (both in video form for months prior to the challenge and then when they met them in person) and despite the grind of running up and down the mountainous terrain.
Ultimately, Tough Mudders overcome all fears to get through the challenge and realize their goal. We all need to will ourselves to do the same in our daily lives.
Will I take part in a Tough Mudder challenge in the future? I’m seriously considering it. My wife certainly has her war wounds to prove her involvement, and she’s showing them off like badges of honour – and rightfully so. I’m not going to decide anythin now – after all, I’m not doing so hot with The Lifehack Editors’ Fitness Challenge right now. Instead, I’ll discuss it with my wife over the next couple of months and make a decision shortly afterward.
(That said, after watching it I think I’d much rather be part of it the next time around.)