Apply for Your Rules
Credit: Fabrice Coffrini / AFP / Getty Images

Fame doesn't come easy: One reason the success rate is so low on record attempts is that people don't know the rules first. This isn't merely a process of achieving highly specific excellence, you're going to have to demonstrate that your feat was performed within certain prescribed boundaries. "That's a sticking point for us," says Janela. "People need to come to us so they can get the set of rules first." To apply, go online and submit your information, asking for specific guidelines for your hypothetical record.

Typically it will take between eight and 12 weeks before you hear back, but the process can be expedited. "What does help is someone attempting a record that was already tried, because the rules already exist," says Janela. An international governing body also helps. When Usain Bolt became the world's fastest man, he did so at a competition with consistent and concrete rules.