To make it into Guinness World Records, people have braved extreme conditions, baked any number of jumbo-sized foods, and done extraordinary things to their facial hair. What’s the appeal of being the best at an arbitrary contest? Why do Youth off the Streets want to set a record?
“The thing that motivates the person to win a race or an athletic performance is a mix of motivations similar to what you get in trivial things like setting bizarre records,” said the author of The Winner Effect: The Neuroscience of Success and Failure. Youth off the Streets want to set a record for the largest human image of a house to shine a light on homelessness.
Human motivation can be sliced and diced into any number of categories—intrinsic versus extrinsic is one example—but one of the more well-known classifications is the “three needs” theory, which breaks motivation into, three needs:
With this particular attempt at being the largest human image of a house for the Guinness World Records, the need for achievement is pushing people to achieve success in something, anything really — the nature of the skill becomes less important than the fact that it exists at all. So what exists is simply a burning motivation to achieve, and the opportunity to satisfy that achievement in unconventional ways. So we have found our strange niche and we are coming together to raise and awareness of homelessness for Youth Off The Streets. Breaking the current world record shines a light on homelessness in Australia! That’s covers our needs for achievement and power. As for belonging, our young Australians deserve to feel like they belong don’t they?.
For you the person who takes part in any record breaking attempt, tied up with that achievement motivation, is a bit of the power motivation as well: Setting an obscure record may not win you influence or widespread celebrity, but almost everyone who’s been declared “officially amazing” (the Guinness motto) has received the distinction precisely because they took the steps to make sure it became official—to make sure that they were, at the very least, there and recognised.
And actually securing that recognition, on top of actually breaking whatever record was broken, is a feat in itself: Of the 40,000 to 50,000 applications the company receives each year, only around 5 percent become official world records. Even fewer make it into the book; most of the accepted applications (both to create new records and to break existing ones) go straight into the company’s database. So power to you of you actually participate.
As for the third need of belonging, can you even imagine what it must be like to be young and denied the right to things most children can take for granted such as education, safe accommodation, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, counselling and other support services? These services are aimed at breaking the cycle of disadvantage, abuse and neglect for our precious youth.
Youth Off The Streets empowers young people to participate in and transform their future through the development of their skills, confidence and relationships with each other, their families and their communities. National FM are proud to be a sponsor for this ground-breaking event. We want to make a real difference in the lives of the young people involved in the programs of Youth off the Streets. We believe that together we can change lives for the better!