"I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life."
– Theodore Roosevelt
The Strenuous Life is a platform for those who wish to revolt against our age of ease, comfort, and existential weightlessness.
Everyone who joins The Strenuous Life will begin their membership by undergoing a 12-week “boot camp” called The Strenuous Life Challenge.
The Challenge is designed to initiate you into what we like to call “the cult of strenuosity.” It’s designed to stretch you physically, mentally, and morally, jumpstart your commitment to living more vigorously, and immerse you in TSL culture. Those who complete the Challenge will receive an exclusive Strenuous Life challenge coin that you can't get your hands on any other way.
The Strenuous Life encourages its members to expand their autonomy, agency, and connection with the tangible world by acquiring new skills — both the hard and the soft. Earn 50+ badges that represent 50+ different skills. Some of them are easier to achieve and others are real doozies, but all are fun to work on and will get you taking action, having more firsthand experiences, and increasing your competence, confidence, and enjoyment of life.
As adherents of The Strenuous Life, we work out not merely to attain aesthetic effects (though this can be a wonderful byproduct), or because it feels good (though it definitely does), or even because it’s crucial for good health (which it assuredly is). We exercise our bodies to enhance our ability to think clearly, to master temptations and weaknesses, and to serve others. In short, we become strong to be useful. The Strenuous Life will provide you the tools, resources, and accountability to help you achieve that goal.
In The Strenuous Life, weekly Agons are challenges designed to push you out of your comfort zone. Each week's Agon will encourage you to break out of your routine and do something a little different from what you usually do. Along the way, you’ll pick up new habits, learn new skills, and further your development in body, mind, and/or spirit.
Training the Soul
The Strenuous Life is a revolt against the self-indulgent ethos that only looks out for oneself. We exhort men to have noble and good aims and to daily strive after them, even when it’s inconvenient. Virtue, duty, and service over self-gratification. Selfless self-improvement is our mantra. As we seek to become more fit, skilled, temperate, frugal, patient, courageous, resolute, and honest, we strengthen and improve our families, communities, and country.
When you sign up for The Strenuous Life, you’ll be assigned to an online class of men who will push you to be your best and hold you accountable during your 12-week initiation into the program. Through discussions in the forums, classmates share their setbacks and successes and offer encouragement and advice.
Are you tired of endlessly skimming through content in your social media feeds, but never acting on it? Are you tired of looking at pictures of other people’s experiences instead of having your own? Are you tired of reading about cool and interesting skills, but never getting around to learning them yourself?
Are you tired of living life secondhand rather than firsthand? If you’ve wanted to take more action in your life — if you’ve wanted to learn cool skills, but haven’t known where to start — The Strenuous Life is for you.
The heart of The Strenuous Life is about turning your good intentions into real, visceral, primary experiences. Finally getting off the sidelines and onto the field. A big part of this mission is accomplished through our structured, easy-to-use badge-earning system. It’s been purposefully designed to offer direction in your personal development and facilitate challenging yet fun skill acquisition.
As a member of The Strenuous Life, you’ll have access to 50+ badges representing 50+ hard and soft skills. Each badge has a set of clearly delineated requirements that have been thoughtfully created to get you competent in the skill that badge represents.
The exclusive, members-only Strenuous Life platform offers:
A Social Network-Like Platform
Create a profile and interact with other members in the forum.
Geographic forum groups help you locate other Strenuous Lifers in your area. Join your local chapter of TSL and meet up for activities with fellow members in real life.
Exclusive Partner Discounts
Access discounts from our partners on products and services that can help you live more strenuously.
Exclusive Access To TSL Store
Purchase exclusive swag, like actual physical badges.
TSL is structured as a friendly competition. Each Agon, badge, and physical activity and good deed check-in you complete will be tallied on your Class Leaderboard. Compete for honor as to who is living the most strenuously.
Not only will your classmates help keep you accountable to your goals, each day you’ll be asked to check in and answer two questions: 1) Did you do 60 minutes of physical activity today? and 2) Did you perform a good deed today?
When you sign up, you’ll be assigned to a 150-member “Class” of like-minded comrades who will help support your commitment to living more strenuously.
When you sign up for The Strenuous Life, you will be sent a series of onboarding emails that offer clear, easy-to-understand instructions on how to use the platform. You will also receive 4 exclusive videos, containing motivating talks by Brett McKay to keep you inspired in living strenuously.
Every Strenuous Life member receives a Welcome Kit to help jumpstart their journey in living more strenuously. The kit includes:
The Strenuous Life Welcome Kit contains over $70 worth of product, but it's yours FREE plus free shipping when you sign up for a lifetime membership in The Strenuous Life.
Real people, challenging themselves, reflecting on how the program impacted their lives.
As a young man with big aspirations, there is nothing more appealing than a structured platform for guided personal growth.
Living in a day with the internet and all its bounty of information from anyone and everyone with an opinion, it is easy to drown in an ocean of fleeting inspiration and ever-changing goals and ideals. I found myself constantly shifting from goal to goal, and never really making much progress in any of them.
Joining The Strenuous Life has been a strong personal step forward to a more fulfilling lifestyle.
Incorporating actions from TSL into my daily and weekly routines are small things that have significantly impacted myself and those around me. Waking up each morning striving to be physically active and looking for what good I can do each day has become second nature and I feel healthier in mind and body as a result. Without revealing any spoilers, the weekly challenges have pushed me outside of my comfort zone and strengthened my self-discipline.
The Strenuous Life has changed my life in ways that I can’t even begin to explain.
It pushes your mind and body to not only tap into their potential to do hard things, but to also welcome those challenges and enjoy them. Participating in TSL has given me confidence that I have never really felt before and it has given me an edge to live my life to the fullest.
The Strenuous Life Challenge has made a huge impact on my life!
The 12 weeks of the “boot camp” helped me find the direction and purpose that I’ve been missing in my life. I’m doing things I never thought I’d do and always looking for ways to be a more strenuous man. It’s made my marriage even happier than it was already. My wife saw the changes in me, saw the fun I was having, and started joining me on the adventures! I can’t wait to see the next Agon!
The Strenuous Life is a structured program designed to push individuals beyond their comfort zone and develop every aspect of who they are. Adherents are expected to train their bodies with vigorous exercise, train their minds and muscles by learning new skills, and train their souls by living a life of service-seeking virtue.
In short, it’s a platform designed to facilitate skill acquisition and personal development.
Think of it as a scouting program for grown men.
Once you register with The Strenuous Life, you will have access to an online platform that will guide you through your journey in living strenuously.
To help develop your skills, we've created 50+ badges covering skills we believe will help men live a more fulfilled life, stay ever ready for any scenario, and be of greater service to others. You will find the requirements for each badge and a platform to track your progress on strenuouslife.co.
To help increase your fitness, Strenuous Life members will be asked to check in as to whether or not they've done at least one hour of physical activity each day.
Moreover, to hold you accountable in your journey of living a life of service-seeking virtue, members also check in for doing a daily good deed. Link one successful check-in to another to form a visible streak on your profile page that you'll want to keep extending.
TSL’s badges and fitness and daily good deed check-ins will all motivate you to develop yourself in body, mind, and spirit. But there’s one more element designed to bolster your training: the weekly Agon.
In The Strenuous Life, weekly Agons are challenges designed to push you out of your comfort zone. At the end of each week, you will receive a link in an email where you can view that week’s Agon. Each week's Agon will encourage you to break out of your routine and do something a little different from what you usually do. Along the way, you'll pick up new habits, learn new skills, and further your development in body, mind, and/or spirit.
After completing the Agons required for the 12-Week Challenge, Strenuous Life members receive a whole nother year’s worth of them. That’s 52 chances to grow and become a better man. (And you can of course repeat those 52 Agons each year thereafter!)
Besides the structure, The Strenuous Life provides accountability and motivation by putting you into a Class of 150 other members with whom you’ll encourage and compete for bragging rights in living The Strenuous Life.
The Strenuous Life Challenge begins the Saturday after you register, and consists of three parts:
Strenuous Life recruits who complete these 3 requirements will receive (for FREE) an exclusive Strenuous Life challenge coin that you can't get your hands on any other way. It will serve as a tangible reminder of your commitment to leaving behind comfort, ease, and mediocrity and doing hard things.
Trying to change your life on your own is hard. Having a support system and accountability helps significantly.
The accountability offered by The Strenuous Life begins with its two daily check-in questions. Each day members are asked whether they’ve done 60 minutes of physical activity and whether they’ve performed a good deed. Affirmative answers are tallied and reflected on their Class Leaderboard.
Accountability also arises from TSL’s Class structure. When you register with The Strenuous Life, you will be assigned to a Class. This will be your digital company as you undertake the 12-week Challenge.
Each Class will cap at about 150 members. We want to keep these groups relatively small to ensure that guys can get to know each other and that no one gets lost in the digital ether.
Each Class will have a forum where comrades can interact with each other. Your Class is where you can share what you are working on in The Strenuous Life and ask for advice on things you are struggling with. Treat your class like a “mastermind” by sharing your big picture goals and asking your compatriots to hold you accountable to them.
In addition to being your comrades in The Strenuous Life, your classmates will also be your competitors. Each Class will have a leaderboard that indicates the number of badges, Agons, and physical and good-deed check-ins each classmate has completed. Compete for bragging rights on who is living most strenuously.
You can also join groups based on your geography to coordinate and meet up with other Strenuous Life members in your local area.
Hopefully, by the end of the 12-week Strenuous Life Challenge, you’ll have gotten into the habit of living strenuously. After it’s over, you can continue to earn badges, check off your daily physical activity and good deeds, and interact with your classmates. We also encourage you, if you haven't already, to get active in your local TSL group, attending meet-ups to complete Agons and on Strenuous Saturday -- the third Saturday of every month and the official meet-up day for TSL members. On SS, members are encouraged to get together with other members in their local area to work on badges, do a physical activity, or perform community service.
We will also continue sending you new weekly Agons for the next 52 weeks. When it's all said and done, you will get a whole year's worth of Agons designed to push you in mind, body, and spirit.
Individuals who have shown their dedication to living The Strenuous Life by completing 52/52 of these Agons will be eligible for a special award. To the persistent!
Everything in The Strenuous Life operates on the honor system. When it comes to the physical activity and good deed check-ins, the achievement of the Agons, and the earning of badges, members are on their honor as to whether they did these things or not. If they lie, fudge, or hedge in a way they know deep down is wrong, they cheat their classmates, and most importantly, they cheat themselves out of getting better.
Cheating is controlled by conscience and the oversight of a member’s fellow classmates. We ask members to guard their honor strenuously.
Some of the weekly Agons will have you getting outside into nature. If you live an urban area, this could pose a challenge, but it's not impossible to overcome. It will just require some extra planning, creativity, or initiative. We've had members in cities like NYC, Chicago, Los Angeles, and London successfully complete the 12-week Challenge.
The weekly Agons don't require any special equipment. With some of the badges you may need to purchase things to complete the requirements (e.g., if you're completing a requirement for the Handyman Badge, you'll probably need to buy supplies from the hardware store), but for the most part you won't need anything that you don't already have lying around.
No. Classes are created on a first-come, first-serve basis. During an enrollment period, we will populate classes with new members as they sign up. Once a class fills with 150 members, a new class will be created and populated.
If you would like to ensure that you and a buddy are in the same Class, you will need to coordinate when you sign-up so you do it at the same time.
The Strenuous Life is an offshoot of the Art of Manliness. Consequently, it is geared towards men.
With that said, nothing prevents a woman from registering with The Strenuous Life. I could have said "no girlz allowed" and a woman could have just said they were a man and signed up anyway. On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog, or a lady.
The physical standards on badges will not be modified for women. We are equal opportunity-ists around here.
You might be thinking, “This sounds awesome. But how much is this going to cost?” We like to keep things simple around here. No reoccurring subscription fees and no nickel and diming you to unlock features. Just a single, one-time payment that gives you LIFETIME access to The Strenuous Life platform and any and all updates that we make to the program.
So what's the nut for The Strenuous Life?
Speaking with other folks who offer similar membership programs/courses, many thought I was severely undervaluing TSL with this price, and suggested that I double it. After all, similar online platforms cost twice as much for a single year, and all you get is access to the online platform. With The Strenuous Life, you get LIFETIME access, plus you receive $100 of FREE product – actual tangible gear you can hold and feel and enjoy.
First, we want The Strenuous Life to be ad-free – free of distractions. The membership fee will help keep the lights on and allow us to continue to improve and grow the platform.
Second, charging people acts as a filter against trolls and other scalawags who make online interactions terrible. Most trolls aren't willing to pay money to troll.
Finally, the membership fee puts some skin in the game. We really want you to do this stuff. When things are free, most people just take it for granted and don't do anything with it. When you know you're paying money to be a part of The Strenuous Life, you're more likely to actually do the program lest you put your money in the metaphorical paper shredder.
Sure! While we will not lay out in detail exceptions to specific disabilities, we encourage members to use their "practical wisdom" to modify requirements based on their circumstance so that they get as close to both the letter and spirit of The Strenuous Life as they can. The guiding principle for fulfilling requirements here at TSL is to “err on the side of doing more rather than less.” Challenge yourself, push yourself. That’s the framework. How you decide to work within that framework is up to you. It’s all based on honor, and you are welcome to participate to whatever extent you are able.
With that said, some requirements do not provide much room for flexibility. Consequently, the completion of some Agons (and thus The Strenuous Life Challenge) as well as some badges may not be possible for those with certain disabilities.
After you earn a badge, you can purchase a badge in the TSL Shop.
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