We are a culture that spends huge amounts of time keeping statistics. We track statistics in every aspect of work, sports, entertainment and life and then record them as records. The longest, the shortest, the highest, the lowest, the most, the least, the fastest and the slowest. If we can measure it, we can record it. We even dedicate an entire book to keeping these records and update it annually. So what is it about these records that make them so sacred?
They are important, or seemingly so, because they motivate us. They often go so far as to inspire us to reach for goals we believe might be beyond our reach. But one thing is true, records are meant to be broken. And, given time, they often are.
A week or so ago, one of my records was broken. It had stood for a number of years and in the back of my mind, I know I entertained the idea that it would somehow stand forever. It had been a record I had set at work and I was quite proud of it. In truth, it wasn’t the record, but rather the effort that it had taken to set that record that made it so important to me. And there in lies the point of keeping records. It is not the loftiness of the record but rather the effort, skill, tenacity and often the risk that was involved in establishing it. Records don’t come easily. If they did, well, they shouldn’t be records and certainly not worth tracking.
I am happy to say that my record was broken by someone very deserving. She put forth the effort required to have the chance. She sacrificed the personal time and dedicated herself to the work in a manner that allowed her to reach and exceed the goal. And in the end my record fell. Sure, there was a moment of sadness when my record fell but it was quickly replaced with a sense of pride knowing that I had inspired an individual to do what it took to break it.
That is the purpose of records and the reason they are worth recording. They inspire people to reach higher than they otherwise would. To accomplish things we think are beyond our ability. To set goals worth working for. The record setter needs to realize this fact and take pride in the effort they expended in setting it. The record may fall, but the sense of worth and the challenge they set for others can never be taken away.
Ironically, this week we have the chance to set a new record as voters go to the polls in what might be record numbers. What an inspiring thought that we as a nation might so fully respect the right to vote that uncountable numbers of people before us fought to secure and protect. Like any other record, it is meant to be broken and all it takes is the will to break it. Go be part of the record. Have your vote counted, and then just maybe go on to choose or set a record of your own. But remember, your record is just the bench mark for someone else to reach for. Set the bar high.