First, you've got to identify your 'why.' Breaking a world record is no joke, even if it's not one where you're jumping off a cliff or risking your life in a variety of other ways. If you're not committed you might give up before or even worse, during, the record.
My why? I've wanted to break a world record for a long time and it's been at the very top of my bucket list. After searching for vulnerable records related to my company Handshakin', I figured there'd probably be enough exposure and possibility in this one to justify breaking it this year.
Oh, by the way, would you guess that most world records nowadays are not broken with a judge, but instead they are 'evidence-based.' It would have cost us $8,000 to fly a judge out to watch us for the entire weekend! So keep that in mind while prepping for your attempt.
I digress, and without further ado, here's how to break a world record:
1. Search to see what exists. There's a whole lot of 'world record' registries in addition to Guinness World Records. When I researched the longest handshake, there was conflicting information. Don't let that deter you.
Luckily in my case, the longest handshake documented with Guinness was 42.5 hours, so it didn't matter that on another website someone had been named a world record holder at 40 hours.
I would've definitely been concerned if another website said that someone had broken a record longer than what Guinness stated, especially since Guinness moves pretty slowly without you paying them thousands to speed it up.
Guinness is obviously the most credible partner for you to work with if you're breaking a world record, though I'm sure you'd be able to get on some other sites if you prefer.
2. Research the top 3 world records that you have a chance at breaking. During my research, I uncovered world's longest chain handshake, longest handshake between two people, and the longest hand hold, which was like 93 days. Just silly.
After looking at those 3 I examined in each of them detail what was allowed and what wasn't.
I decided to pursue the longest handshake since I felt like I had more control of the success of breaking that world record. Records that involve thousands of people are scary because it's incredibly difficult to ensure that it would happen in the way we mean it to.
With the longest two person shake, it was a cooperative mental game with my partner and now fellow world record holder, Juan Diaz de Leon.
3. Submit an application to Guinness World Records. You can do that here. Filing an application is important so you can get in contact with the authority on any questions as they come up. My first question about the world's longest handshake was naturally, 'how do we use the bathroom.'
Pulled straight from Guinness' website: "Once you have submitted an application, it can take up to 12 weeks for us to review it and let you know next steps."
Yes, I applied to the world's longest handshake in like August of 2014, and then broke the record in January 2015. It costs an additional $1,000 to have your application reviewed within 5 days, so save yourself the $1,000 and use it on marketing or energy drinks and apply early!
4. Recruit friends as witnesses and volunteers. Even if your application hasn't been accepted yet, you're going to need lots of help tweeting reporters, gathering witness and steward statements, and obviously with any setup and take-down that your attempt will involve.
I hope this unique perspective helps, please tweet me @handshakin if you enjoyed and you'd like me to write a follow-up on how to actually break the record once your attempt starts.
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