Fame comes and goes, but the record for most balloons inflated nasally in three minutes (28) can last a long time. Having your name in the Guinness World Records, a product that organically grew out of weird bar bets, is not only an honor, it is also a more achievable goal that rising to power or starting a game at Madison Square Garden. The key, according to Mike Janela, one of the U.S. judges who adjudicate record attempts, is to have a plan.
"We get 1,000 applications a week," Janela says. "That's everyone from a kid saying he has the coolest dog to someone going for a speed record." He adds that only 2 percent of world record inquiries end up earning the official Guinness certificate of approval. Being the best in the world at something is apparently harder than it looks.
We asked Janela for his help understanding the process of making a record-setting attempt and sending proof to the judges. He gave us a quick guide to getting our name in the book.
Assess Your Strengths
The first step is to select the right record – and this begins with an honest self-assessment. "People don't always connect their personal talents to setting a record," says Janela. Like starting a business, don't set out in unfamiliar territory when the odds are already against you. If you're good at whittling, focus on whittling. If you're good at chopping down trees, chop down a lot of trees. If you're really fast, find something else you're good at – there are a lot of people who are faster than you. The thing you're best at is unlikely to be the thing you're best in the world at. The thing that you care about that everyone else ignores, that's the ticket.
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