Guinness Book of World Records

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For a few years in elementary school, I used to beg to get the year’s copy of the Guinness Book of World Records. In a time before Google and Wikipedia, or even Encarta, the Guinness Book was a window into a world of what was possible. You could consume the trivia and then share it with friends at recess.

Even though they were world records, some of them were boring. Largest submarine sandwich, largest pie, longest typed letter, longest finger nails… yawn. After a few years of getting the book and seeing that many items were unbroken over the period of a year, my interest in the book waned.

It was only until recently that I looked at the idea of world records as a business model. It didn’t dawn on me that because a world record is a marketing ploy. Why else would you do it but to share that accomplishment with others and have others remark on it?

In a time when there is so much negativity and pain in the world, maybe it’s worth us thinking about how we can create our own records and firsts, even if they seem minor. The first time you wrote someone in some elected office, the first time you told someone in a platonic relationship that you cared about them, the first time you said something really nice to someone about something you appreciated that you had never mentioned before. There are many world records that don’t need an application form.

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