Traditional economic theory states that humans are fundamentally motivated by self-interest. Here at Tough Mudder, however, we’re callin’ BS.
Recently, we’ve been wondering: why do Mudders report 82-percent higher levels of satisfaction when helping others complete an obstacle versus tackling an obstacle alone? Why are the most popular Tough Mudder obstacles-- Everest, Pyramid Scheme, and Berlin Walls -- also the most team-oriented?
In our quest for the answer, we discovered people report that helping others to achieve a mutual goal is more satisfying than an individual accomplishment. Additionally, people attain higher levels of happiness from spending money on others rather than themselves. (As if you needed another reason to share this.)
Most interesting to us, however, a recent study found that two-year-old children were repeatedly happier giving away Goldfish crackers than receiving them or giving them away from another child’s pile. Scientists dub the emotional high felt following acts of generosity and cooperation the ‘‘warm glow,” and it’s this glow of human sincerity and camaraderie that illuminates each and every Tough Mudder event.
At TMHQ, it’s the two-year-olds, not the economists, that we agree with. And that’s why we’re going to continue building fear-facing obstacles that are damn-near impossible for you to overcome on your own. By continuously putting others over self, sometimes quite literally, we gradually understand what not only Tough Mudder, but life, is all about.