#134 Setting a new record for yourself in anything

My friends Mike and Kathryn had a baby last year.

I was out visiting them on the west coast recently and we spent a quiet night on the couch playing with their diaper-clad, chubby-legged, wide-eyed son Malcolm. We took turns rocking him, yanking on his toes, and holding him above our heads like Simba. To return the favor he giggled and waved his arms and legs around sharply and wildly like Bambi on ice.

The evening was pretty quiet until Malcolm happened to let out the giantest burp I’ve ever heard from a baby. It was a long and deep gut-clearing belch that was part tugboat, part T-Rex, and all class.

After the burp Malcolm’s emotionless, slowly blinking eyes didn’t seem particularly impressed but Mike got right into it. “Ladies and gentlemen!” he began, like a boxing announcer winding up the crowd. “We have a newwwwwwwwww … champion-of-the-world!”

Cuddling the Bald Burper on the couch, Mike went on to excitedly explain how Malcolm was constantly setting new records for himself. “We hit longest sleep recently and biggest dump was about six months back,” he said, putting his floppy-sweatsock feet up on the coffee table. “Haven’t seen a diaper that full since.”

Sure enough, these Guinness Book accounts of Malcolm’s record-smashing ways got us all talking about how setting a new record for yourself in anything is great. It feels like a small victory, like passing a little test, it feels like learning more about you, like pushing into that new personal best.

After all, there’s the longest speech you’ve given, there’s the most games you played, there’s the longest drive you’ve driven, and there’s the best catch you made. And although these white-ribbon finishes aren’t always surrounded by cheering crowds, flashing cameras, and newspaper headlines, the truth is that doesn’t matter. Because when you set a personal record you can whip out your personal notebook and make a personal note.

“Giantest burp ever.”


Photos from: here and here

44 thoughts on “#134 Setting a new record for yourself in anything

  1. I once set a record of being the 1st person in the office & last person to leave. There are 200 staff on my floor alone, while it’s easy to beat the latest to leave I have to beat the GM who arrives at 0700 prompt everyday. Talk about getting up at 5 and arriving at 6:30am :)

  2. I once set a record of being the 1st person in the office & last person to leave – There are 200 staffs on my floor alone. While it’s easy to become the latest to leave, I have to beat the GM who arrives at 0700 prompt everyday. Talk about getting up at 5 and arriving at 6:30am :)

    Totally meaningless aside, It felt AWESOME!

    – Running a greater distance before the playlist finishes.
    – Beating my ghost-self on Maria Kart 64.
    – Improving my assignments mark each time.
    – Cooking a meal that tastesd better than the last time I cooked it.


    1. The “ghosts” on MK64 can be amazingly addictive. As soon as you beat your previous ghost, you have just raised the bar a little higher, and now you’ve got to do it all over again!

      (Almost as addictive as playing Battle Mode on the block fort level.. it is dangerous how long I could play that with friends in college!)

          1. Hehehe.. I remember doing that.. you could click one square, and the entire field would clear and surround just your 5 bombs.. done in 1 second! :)

            1. Ha ha you guys I love it! I was just trying to think of the lamest game to make into a competition with yourself but you guys took it to a whole new level of lame!

  4. Hmm… I’ll have to give this one some thought. That’s not really something I go around thinking about. It does seem like a good idea though. Strive to be better at everything this way. I think this requires a chart or a spreadsheet of some sort.

      1. Doo-doo-do-dooo! (that’s my super hero theme song)..

        *Freddo swoops down from the sky, wearing tights and a cape. The Excel desktop logo is emblazoned across the front*

        Who needs a spreadsheet? I heard the call! I’ll fulfill all of your spreadsheet needs, and then I can display it all in a fancy PowerPoint presentation.. (although that will require me to change outfits, to my powerpoint cape)..

        *Swoops off, just because “swooping” sounds like a fun thing to be able to do*

        1. Love it!! Maybe you can wear all the Microsoft Office logos on the front of your superhero getup. That way you can easily perform any task without having to find a phone booth or something in which to conduct your wardrobe swap.

  5. In 2000, our dog discovered 5.5 acres. We had 4 teenagers and were on a very tight budget, most people said we couldn’t do much of anything with.
    We rose to the challenge; bought the land and built a 4 bed, 2 bath, 2,000 square foot home for a total of $125,000.
    Recylcing all we could within building codes.
    “We” were only 2-4 carpenters + a plumber, electrician and a stone mason.
    From start to finish was 65 days to move in.
    When we finally sat down on the couch to watch a movie, we were more mesmerized by the accomplishment of our modest and resourceful yet creative and charming, comfy, cozy and equisite Essential Home.
    On a personal note~ we broke a record:)

      1. Thank you Jenn. Since then, we’ve assisted several other families to do the same, and gosh darn we are fairly proud of it too…everyone deserves a home:)

  6. A few years back, I took up running as a way to stay fit. After running your first race or two, it is common for runners to start becoming concerned with their “PRs” (Personal Records). You’re always training for your next race to try to best your previous PR at that race distance..

    Well, I found this way of thinking very contagious/addictive, and quickly spilled into the rest of my life. I was looking for PRs all over the place – setting new PRs for everything from “Best gas mileage on a single tank of gas” to “most perfectly cracked eggs with using only a single hand while making breakfast”, to my wife and I having a “how long can you hold your breath” measurement one night at dinner.

    The best things about measuring PRs is that they don’t need to be outwardly competitive at all? It doesn’t really matter what other people are doing – you’re just competing against yourself to be the best “you” you can be! It’s really awesome!

    What’s your favorite little competition with yourself??

    1. Fasted time to shower & dress in the morning. Because every second shaved off that time, is a second longer I can stay in bed the next day!

      And, of course, Minesweeper expert level! lol

      1. Adding new guitar chords! Every time I practice I try to “guestimate” fewer chords. It’s pretty satisfying to hear B, Bm and F#m play true.

        And, yes, fastest shower, makup & dress time. Sometimes I even opt for the night time shower just to maximize morning pillow time.

        1. Three cheers to adding efficiency to the morning routine! Anything to let you get in that one extra snooze is worth it!

          -Lay out your clothes the night before
          -Shave off all your hair so you don’t have to style it.. (ok – granted, this might not be applicable to everyone! hehe)
          -Pack your lunch the night before (if you take a lunch to work)

      2. Oh man, jdurley, that’s totally what I was going to say! I have my ipod dock in my bathroom, so I’m constantly eyeing the time as I get ready in the morning. I still get up at the same time almost every day, but it’s fun to see how quickly I can do it … just so I know incase it really ever comes down to the wire.

        1. Laura, dude! You’re back! Yay!
          For me, it comes down to the wire EVERY DAY. lol. Lately I’ve been trying to add a hot breakfast without adding much time. Here’s how it works: after shower, dry off. Run out to kitchen, put pan on stove, butter in pan. Start coffee maker. Run back to bathroom, apply body and face chemicals. Run back to kitchen, add eggs to pan, put bread in toaster, but don’t start toasting yet! Run back to bathroom, get dressed. Back to kitchen, turn or stir eggs, start the toast. Back to bathroom, do hair and makeup. Toast pops up. You’re ready for your hot breakfast. Yay!

          1. jdurley.. this sounds EPIC!

            I can’t imagine what this must look like.. but it sounds like an entire frenzied blur of awesome! The fact that you have a pan of melting butter on a flame while you’re in the bathroom applying “body and face chemicals” (which sounds like a frightening step in any morning routine), sounds pretty legendary!

            Plus, it sounds like a much more satisfying breakfast than mine:
            1) Pour Lucky Charms in bowl
            2) Add milk (in the perfect milk-to-cereal ratio).
            3) Eat.

            No hot breakfast. No body chemicals. I feel like I’m missing out.

            1. You are SO missing out. I think it also probably counts as a cardio workout.

              No need for alarm, though. “body and face chemicals” is pretty much just deodorant and moisturizer, but that didn’t sound as bad-ass.

              And it’s just as well not to imagine what this looks like, since putting on clothes doesn’t happen until after the 2nd trip to the kitchen…

          2. Oh my gosh, jdurley, that’s amazing! If there was a multi-task award, I’d give it to you. I can barely get it together enough to have a rushed bowl of cereal.

            Side note, since I know this crowd will appreciate this, I threw some Nutella on a piece of toast this morning and ran out the door, eating my toast on the way to work. Welllllllllllll, I kind of underestimated how melty it would get, and it started dripping off the bread. It was horrible. I had to hunt down a Shout wipe when I got to school. Lesson learned, and ye be warned: no Nutella on toast unless you can dedicate the time to carefully eat it!

  7. i better start writing all my achievements down. Great idea. I’ll call it an achievement journal. It will help me know if I’m doing enough in this world and what impact i might leave.

  8. When we were kids we used to try to set # of times with speed PR’s on tongue twisting verses such as these…
    How much wood could a wood-chuck chuck, if a wood-chuck could chuck wood?
    She sells sea shells by the sea shore!
    Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers!
    Someone would chime in with hilarious lymerics so we never sorted out who actually won challenges, since we’d wind up laughing our heads off! I suppose that makes the guy who memorized the lymerics the winner, really!
    *I could strive to be better at everything, but I’m getting too old to compete with me, myself and I!
    Although Freddo’s bright idea…setting personal records to be the very best me I can be…I quite like, can and will do:)

  9. Set a personal record today, in fact: I was the passenger in a car during travel over a l-o-n-g bridge and kept my eyes open for a longer percentage of the travel time than ever before! Despite the fear of heights, Go me!

  10. Every day I try NOT to spend money! I once made it 23 hours and 50 minutes- Honest! I do fairly well in the clothing dep’t but supporting the music industry, artisans and homeless people with pets…not so good!

  11. Oh, I almost forgot! Malcolm is SUCH an adorable little guy! How could you not celebrate everything he does!

  12. Fastest time to donate a pint of blood – 4min50sec.
    They think I’m crazy when I say ‘What was my time!?’ when the machine beeps :o)

  13. Hey! Today I broke a record too! Wich one, you ask? Why, most consecutive days lived of course;)

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