Learning work ethic from record breakers

Work life

If you’re too young to remember the TV show record breakers and sing along with the classic theme tune, then you’ll know the giant annual book of Guinnes World record breakers – and all its weird and wonderful achievements.

Whether it’s the most tattooed man in the world, the fastest sprint or the record for eating the most After Eight mints in a minute with no hands, breaking records takes dedication, commitment and some real planning and resilience. Key traits to succeed in any work environment!

This Sunday is Guinness World Record day, and we’ve collected some wisdom from world record breakers that can help you build up the skills you need to achieve your goals.

Don’t fear failure

It’s difficult when you fail at something – and we all go through it at some point in our lives. Whether it’s a job we didn’t get, a project that didn’t succeed or a target we didn’t hit, it’s not possible to go through life without facing some barriers and obstacles. The key thing that any record breaker will tell you is to learn from your experience and never, ever let it defeat you.

Professor Steve Peters, author of the Chimp Paradox and sports psychiatrist, explained how world record holder Usain Bolt maintained his calm before a race, by “having little fear about failure or underperformance". Being afraid of failure can stop you from finding new ways to succeed, so this is an important lesson to learn for all of us.

People will tell you that a role isn’t right for you or ‘no’ more than they’ll ever tell you ‘yes’ in this life. Don’t get discouraged, it just means that the right opportunity for success hasn’t come along yet. Ask for feedback and take it on board with good grace – you can use it to improve for next time! You might mope about after a disappointment for a day or two, but the most important thing is to pick yourself up afterwards and carry on trying. Every record breaker has failed at an attempt at least once; but if they had stopped at the first barrier they would never have achieved their success.

Dedication, dedication, dedication

If you’ve set your heart and mind on achieving something, no matter how hard or out of reach your goal might seem, you need to have the dedication to see it through. Success doesn’t happen overnight, and athletes spend years training and practicing for their big day. They sacrifice elements of their social life and normal living to commit themselves to achieving success, and we can learn a lot from their stories.

Sohrab Moradi broke the men’s 94kg weightlifting world record this year, and he explained that “I allocate my time only to weightlifting, nothing else. This is the secret of my success. The world record is the result of these efforts.”

It’s good to have career goals so that you can dedicate yourself to their pursuit, but it’s important to remember not to expect immediate results. It takes time to create a career path but if you don’t get discouraged and keep working hard, you’ll see success!

Embrace new ideas

In the year 2000, the world record for eating the most hot dogs was 25 and 1/8 eaten in 12 minutes. In 2001, Takeru Kobayashi changed the game of competitive eating and ate 50. Whilst other competitors were asking how they could fit more hot dogs into their stomachs, Kobayashi thought about how he could make eating one hot dog easier. He redefined the problem, and created his own, unique solution. He found that if he dipped each bun in water it broke down its starch. He would then squeeze out the water and throw it into his mouth. In 2001 he doubled the record and ate 50 hot dogs.

When you face hurdles or problems that get in the way of achieving your goals, think about how you can get around them – and don’t always rely on what people tell you. Your innovation and ingenuity could be the thing that sets you apart and puts you one step ahead of the competition!