The Tough Mudder Pledge


Will Dean and Guy Livingstone, co-founders of Tough Mudder


Tough Mudder is a physical adventure challenge along the lines of a military commando course.

The pledge is intended to provide guideline rules for how to approach the challenge.

“The pledge demonstrated our belief that there was a craving among people, particularly young people, not only for challenging experiences but for an authentic set of values they might sing up to and, over the course of the afternoon and beyond, believe in.” (Page 5)


  • I understand that Tough Mudder is not a race but a challenge.
  • I put teamwork and camaraderie before my course time.
  • I do not whine – kids whine.
  • I help my fellow Mudders complete the course.
  • I overcome all fears.
Will Dean - It Takes a Tribe - Building the Tough Mudder Movement


Will Dean, It Takes a Tribe: Building the Tough Mudder Movement, Portfolio Penguin, 2017, Page 5.

Tough Mudder Website


There are a number of things that I love about the Tough Mudder pledge.

  1. Prior to reading this, I hadn’t thought to include a ‘pledge’ under the manifesto umbrella. But, it does fit neatly and powerfully.
  2. A manifesto is a declaration of your intent. A pledge takes this further and raises the commitment level by converting it into a promise. This implies you are forming an agreement to another person or group – it’s no longer just ‘me’, it’s also ‘we’. It’s a perfect strategy for building a tribe, which is exactly what Tough Mudder want to achieve – and have been so successful at doing.
  3. From the nine Manifesto Manifesto principles this one has cleverly adopted the ‘inspire being’ element. The first line sets the context ‘not a race but a challenge’. From this it shares four attitudes for people to adopt to face that challenge – teamwork, no whining, help others and overcome fears.
  4. The Tough Mudder manifesto is also double-sided – it’s a set of rules that works for both the Tough Mudder internal team plus all of the external customers – the course participants.
  5. Plus, it’s simple and concise – only five rules to follow. This makes it short enough to remember which makes it more likely that people will adhere to it.

Paul Roos: 25 Points to Success

Paul Roos - Here It Is - book coverCreator

Paul Roos is a former AFL (Australian Football League) player and coach. He played a total of 356 games for Fitzroy and Sydney and was a two-time All-Australian captain. He also coached Sydney and Melbourne. Roos was the coach of the Sydney Swans in 2005 when they won their first premiership in 72 years. Roos is a member of the AFL Hall of Fame and currently works in the media.


When Roos finished his playing career after 16 years and 356 games (only 12 people have played more games) he sat down and made a list of 25 things “I liked and disliked about coaching and playing. I wanted to make sure I never forgot what it was like to be a player.” (Page 5)

The list became the basis for his coaching at both Sydney and Melbourne.


The secrets of the Roos method: 25 points to success

  1. Always remember to enjoy what you’re doing.
  2. Coach’s attitude will rub off on the players.
  3. If coach doesn’t appear happy/relaxed, players will adopt same mentality.
  4. Never lose sight of the fact it is a game of football.
  5. Coach’s job is to set strategies: team plans, team rules, team disciplines, specific instructions to players.
  6. Good communication skills.
  7. Treat people as you want to be treated yourself.
  8. Positive reinforcement to players.
  9. Players don’t mean to make mistakes – don’t go out to lose.
  10. 42 senior players – all different personalities, deal with each one individually to get the best out of him.
  11. Never drag a player for making a mistake.
  12. Don’t overuse interchange.
  13. Players go into a game with different mental approach.
  14. Enjoy training.
  15. Make players accountable for training, discipline, team plans – it is their team too.
  16. Weekly meetings with team leaders.
  17. Be specific at quarter, half, three-quarter time by re-addressing strategies – don’t just verbally abuse.
  18. Motivate players by being positive.
  19. After game don’t fly off the handle. If too emotional say nothing, wait until Monday.
  20. Surround yourself with coaches and personnel you know and respect.
  21. Be prepared to listen to advice from advisers.
  22. Keep training interesting and vary when necessary.
  23. Team bonding and camaraderie is important for a winning team.
  24. Make injured players feel as much a part of the team as possible (players don’t usually make up injuries).
  25. Training should be game-related.


Paul Roos, Here It Is: Coaching Leadership and Life; Viking, Penguin Random House, 2017, Pages 21-22.


This is a classic list manifesto. What stands out in reading his book is that he demonstrates and examples of each of the principles and how he used them throughout his coaching career.

The most interesting thing is the insight – to be a good coach, I need to remember what it’s like to be a player.

This applies in some many places. For instance:

  • To be a good manager I need to remember what it’s like starting out in your career
  • To be a good presenter I need to remember what it’s like to be an audience member
  • To be a good writer I need to remember what it’s like to be a reader

I think most of us can apply that rule to our own work in some way.


Paul Roos website

Paul Roos podcast – he shares these lessons applied to work, life and business

Dr Alan Goldman – A Toxic Leader Manifesto (a great comparison – how many show up on both lists?)

Quigley and Baghaic: As One Manifesto

Sally Mabelle: From Separation to Connection


Greg Strosaker: The Running Manifesto

Greg Strosaker: Running Manifesto

Creator: Greg Strosaker blogs at Predawn Runner. He’s a husband to a paediatrician, father to three boys, product management professional and an age-group competitive marathon runner in Cleveland, Ohio. He runs predawn to fit it into his full life.

Purpose: For those who have a full life and want to make your running a bigger part of it, without having to sacrifice the other things that matter to you.

The Running Manifesto

Every run has a purpose. There is no room for zombie shuffles.

Banish the snooze button. You’ll appreciate the advice in two hours.

Busy streets are not busy at 4:30AM. Get at it.

Fear and frustration lead to the dark side. Embrace it. The dark side is good for runners.

If you are thinking about your pace, increase it. There is plenty of time when you are not thinking about your pace.

Uphills separate the contenders from the pretenders. You’re going to be tired anyway, why not push it.

Downhills are for dreaming. But you better make it quick.

Cross-training is like Chinese food. I’m hungry again in an hour.

I do speed work on Monday. It’s now the best day of the week.

Negative splits are nirvana, but going out too fast teaches you how fast you can go.  Sacrifice to learn.

Some days, all directions will be uphill and into the wind. Deal with it.

Snow and ice are an opportunity to practice precise footing. They are not an excuse.

Rest days are luxuries. I hate luxury.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I– I ran the one less traveled by, then I ran the other one. And that has made all the difference. (with apologies to Robert Frost)



The Running Manifesto on

Image: Greg in action, borrowed from his website.


Royal Yachting Association: Guiding Principles Manifesto

Royal Yachting Association Manifesto

Creator: The Royal Yachting Association are the UKs national body for dinghy and yacht racing, motor and sail cruising, RIBs and sportsboats, powerboat racing, windsurfing and personal watercraft. They are also a leading representative body for inland waterways cruising.

Purpose: In answer to calls from clubs and members the Association has articulated it’s guiding principle more clearly.

Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Manifesto

The Royal Yachting Association has three central themes:

  1. Promote Recreational Boating
  2. Influence legislation that may impact boating
  3. Resisting legislation that may adversely impact recreational boating


Article on – 7 September 2011

Complete Manifesto

Image from Key Yachting



Mat Robar: The Wanna Be Surf Bum Manifesto

Mat Robar: The Wanna Be Surf Bum Manifesto

Creator: Mat Robar is a former Inc. 100 corporate finance manager turned Adventure Capitalist, Mat now travels the world in search of warm water, big waves and powder snow.

Purpose: To chase an ideal – to chase passion.

The Wanna be Surf Bum Manifesto (edited)

I chase an ideal, I choose to chase passion.

…For all intensive purposes, happiness can be broken down into 3 levels.

• Pleasure – The shortest lasting happiness that is based off stimuli and always chasing the next high.  It is this happiness that most people focus on with things like material possessions or sex, yet it has been proven to be a very fleeting form of happiness.

• Passion – The second longest form of happiness is Passion.  Passion refers to a state in which you achieve “flow” or what is sometimes referred to as “being in the zone.”   Time passes without notice when you are passionate. When you find something that not only gives you pleasure but also becomes a passion then you have achieved this second level of happiness.

• Higher Purpose/Ideal – The longest lasting form of happiness is being connected to or with a higher purpose.  This supports Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs that states once the basic fundamentals of life are met, human beings desire to be connected to a higher purpose or something bigger than themselves.  It is this purpose or ideal that in turn gives purpose and meaning to life.

As a general rule, the vast majority of the population chooses to chase pleasure and vow to get to passion and purpose once they reach the proper amount of happiness.  When in reality to achieve long lasting happiness you must actually do the exact opposite.  Find your purpose first and then layer passion on top of your purpose and ultimately find the pleasure that comes along with it, not the other way around.

This is a concept that I believe we all know inherently, but we lose over time as the world pushes us back to and rewards us for pleasure based happiness.  To have seen this concept so simply laid out like above was a turning point in my belief system, lifestyle and life.

Just as the surf bum spends his days in search of Zen through surfing and the stoke that goes along with every wave, we too must each find our own purpose and have the courage and strength to pursue it.

This site is dedicated to and written by those who are out there doing it, living their dreams, finding their purpose and pursuing their passions. I encourage you to peruse the site, get involved and starting thinking about how you can take some of the ideals and concepts referred to above and apply them in your life today.



Mat’s complete Manifesto



Dave Gilmore: Summer Softball Manifesto

Dave Gilmore: Summer Softball Manifesto

Creator: Dave Gilmore lives in Baltimore, works for a sports-oriented non-profit, and writes “The Win Column” for

Purpose: Principles to keep summer softball “fun for everyone”.

The Summer Softball Manifesto (edited)

“I’m just lobbing it in.”?*

You have to remember, once the dust settles, an out-of-shape dude is going to take a step and lob a big neon-colored ball in at roughly 13 mph.  It’s silly to get worked up about anything that involves throwing something underhand.  It’s not worth sliding.  It’s not worth name-calling, cheating, accusing people of cheating, or injuring your has-been self.  It’s slow-pitch softball.  If it were more serious, they’d call it something else.

*Borrowed from a Seinfeld episode.

Beer, Sweat and Tears?…

Basically, even though I’m usually too dehydrated to have a beer until after the game, I’m pro-beer and softball. I know, such a controversial stance.

Carry a Big Stick?…

You can level the playing field if your team pulls together an extra $250 and gets a decent bat every season.  For reasons scientific and unfathomable, softball bats seem to lose their “pop” after a season or so.  Certain bats also just make the ball fly like that dusty thing you’re swinging simply cannot.  Just the confidence of having such an instrument in the hands of your average hitter is worth the purchase.

Girls, Girls, Girls

Why would you enter a team in a co-ed softball league if you didn’t plan on using any of your female players?  So, here is my message to female softball players and the team managers who perpetually stick them at the bottom of the order playing catcher, second base, and right field: you’re not helping.  If you haven’t played a lot of ball in your life, the only way to get better is to get up there and take your cuts.  Take a few ground balls off the shins, be aggressive on a 2-strike count, and try and stretch a double into a triple.  It’s completely arcane to believe that women are incapable of competing evenly in a softball league where the prize for first place is usually a big bag of nothing and at most a plastic trophy.

…There is something intrinsically wonderful about taking to a patch of dirt and playing a full-fledged game of softball.  …There’s a level of orchestration there that only adults are capable of.  Its antiquity– no scoreboards, old-timey terminology, funny socks, is part of its charm.  The fact that nearly every company with more than 10 people can and usually does field a team at some point, is unique solely to this country…



Article on – June 17, 2011


Michael Tunison: The Football Fan’s Manifesto

Football Fan Manifesto

Creator: Michael Tunison, football blogger at His book, The Football Fan’s Manifesto was published by Harper Collins in 2009.

Purpose: The essential rules and ten commandments that every football fan should know.

The Football Fan’s Ten Commandments

1. You Must Choose Your Team by the Age of Eight.

2. Value That Team Above All Else, Even Yourself.

3. Under No Circumstances Can You Switch Teams (And Expect to Live).

4. There is a Limit to the Amount of Merchandise You Can Own (But It’s Very Generous).

5. Sportsmanship is for the Athletes. Fans Can Gloat Endlessly.

6. A Self-Induced Coma to Skip the Off-season is a Practical Solution to an Annoying Problem.

7. An Inoffensive Fantasy Football Name is a Lame Fantasy Football Name.

8. Wealth Doesn’t Matter So Long As You Don’t Have to Work Weekends.

9. Respect Superstitions. If Your Team Lost, It’s Because You Jinxed Them.

10. In Life, the Order of Importance: Football First, Football Second, Football Third, Family . . . uh, I Don’t Know, twelfth?


Book Promo:

Authors Blog:

Nick Legan: The Cycling Mechanics Manifesto

Cycle Sports Manifesto

Creator: Nick Legan, Pro Cycle Teams Mechanic.

Purpose: For those of you aspiring to join the pro ranks as a bicycle mechanic…

The Cycling Mechanic’s Manifesto

• Focus on the things you can control and do them well. For the rest, go with the flow.
• Pay attention and learn to listen. You’ll earn respect and improve more quickly.
• Work hard, really hard. But make sure to have some fun.
• Pack light.
• Remember that it’s not about you, it’s about the bike racers.
• There isn’t much room ego among staff members (nor is it helpful).
• Above all else look out for your riders’ safety and your sponsors.



Thanks to Tony Fahkry for submitting this manifesto!

Cycle Sports Magazine: Challenge to Team Owners

Cycle Sports Manifesto

Creator: Lionel Birnie, Cycle Sports Magazine

Purpose: A response to Jonathan Vaughter’s 10 point plan to reinvigorate cycling: 11 things the cycling teams could do to create a better deal for all those interested in pro road racing.


Cycle Sport’s Manifesto: A Challenge to the team owners

1. Talk to major broadcasters and mainstream media in all the key markets.

2. Ask cycling’s existing fans what they like and dislike about the sport as it currently is and what they would do to broaden its appeal.

3. Approach fans of other sports and ask them what they think of cycling. Listen carefully to them – they’re potential fans.

4. Stop appearing so self-interested.

5 Get your own houses in order.

6 Respect above all the race organisers.

7. Instruct an independent auditor to conduct a report on the use of race radios.

8. Engage with the fans more.

9. Help and encourage organisers to market their events more effectively.

10. Set up rider development schemes in other parts of the world.

11. Put together a clear, cohesive and direct manifesto document – A blueprint for the future of cycling – setting out your vision.



Cycle Sports Manifesto: Vaughters 10 Point Plan

Cycle Sports Manifesto

Creator: Jonathan Vaughters, President of the Association of Pro Tour and Pro Continental Cycling Teams

Purpose: Revamp Cycling, make it more successful and put it on a par with other major sports like Premier Football.


Vaughters 10 Point Plan

1. More races of the highest level outside of Europe.

2. Consistent, understandable formats for cycling fans.

3. Long-term guaranteed entry to the Tour de France for professional teams.

4. More focus on prevention of doping, in the first place, as opposed to catching cheats.

5. More team-time trials more often.

6. Technical innovation, such as cameras on bikes, inside cars, helmets, inside team buses to make the “craziness and danger of the peloton more real to the viewer”.

7. Equipment innovation to see if the the smartest team wins sometimes, rather than the strongest.

8. Open radios to the public and listen to your favourite team and what they are doing.

9. GPS tracking of individual riders to make races fun to watch.

10. Have an understandable and consistent way of determining the best rider in the world and the best team in the world. That might mean riders have to ride Paris-Roubaix, and if they do not finish they would be docked points.