How long can YOU really hold your breath for? TEDTalks David Blaine: How I held my breath for 17 min – How to Defeat Mental Barriers by Brian Cimins

TEDTalks David Blaine: How I held my breath for 17 min – Thoughts on How to Defeat Mental Barriers by Brian Cimins

David Blaine delivers an amazing example of how to push human limits. Whether or not, you think his magic are simple tricks or massive amounts of dedication and training, he’s dedicated to the art of magic.

In 1954, Roger Bannister ran the mile in 3:59.4 – shattering the previously “unbreakable” 4:00 minute mile. Once one man or woman achieves something, others believe it’s possible, and all of a sudden, Hicham El Guerrou, who holds the current men’s record holder runs it in 3:43.13.

We must shatter the obstacle in our minds first. We can mentally program ourselves to see the beautiful valley beyond the dangerous, snow capped mountain that lies ahead of us. Defeating mental barriers in life, opens a world of potential possibilities – remove the ceiling, sky’s the limit.

David Blaine talks about all of the potential tricks, solutions, hyper-baric chambers with Mount Everest Base Camp Oxygen style treatment – and then he just says, “Then I thought about the craziest ideas of all ideas – to actually do it.” Blaine trained hard, but still used a bunch of chemicals and medical treatments to enhance his ability and ultimately enhance his time for static breath hold.

Forget the chemicals, if you just did the breath purge (like hyper ventilating to release the Co2) then take one giant breath…How long can YOU hold your breath?

Today, May 11, 2013, I held my breath out of water for 1:39.5 and underwater I held my breath for 2:11.5. I was shocked, I conquered another fear and repressed emotion now have become laser focused on extending my ability which could save someone’s life some day.

Harry Houdini‘s personal record was 3:30. I will hold my breath for 3:31 by the end of the summer underwater. Publicly stating personal challenges is a great way to keep you accountable, regardless of what those goals are. Tell someone who won’t let you forget it, someone who will hold you accountable and call you on your bullshit.

Do I expect everyone to try to hold their breath too? No, I want you to EXPAND YOUR MIND. Do I expect anyone to care about my personal challenge? No. I wanted to write it down, so I smashed the previous obstacle in my mind.


While I I was under water today, I flashed back to a story my parents shared with me that at 2-years-old for nearly 2 minutes in a pool accident in Florida. My Mother said, I was on the bottom of the pool, just staring at them, calm as could be, without any thought of fear or ability to swim out of the water.  My father jumped in and saved me.

I then flashed forward to being just 13-years-old when I fell through the ice while playing hockey, at nearby frozen lake in Wayne, New Jersey. I was under water for just 30 seconds and couldn’t find the hole, it felt like an eternity with the water at 33 degrees and rushing like nothing I’d ever felt before. My friend panicked and skated to the edge. I was 100% on my own, if I didn’t escape, I would die. That changes your perspective on things or like in my case, become a repressed memory which would limit my maximum capacity for potential in life, in whatever way possible.

Before I held my breath underwater today, I only thought I could hold my breath for a minute. I didn’t question it, I let my childhood fear sitting in my subconscious mind create a rule for me. “You can’t hold your breath for longer than a minute” – this would echo in my mind and for years I never challenged it, I believed it…until today.

While I highly respect David Blaine for pushing his magical limits, I don’t like the usage of chemicals and medical procedures to unnaturally enhance his performance. I love his passion and conviction, but I kept thinking – what about the regular husband or Dad?

I just think we should see how long we can hold our breath and practice every day. What’s the harm? Maybe I watched one too many “I Shouldn’t Be Alive” episodes or was underwater too much as a kid, but imagine if your car was swept off a bridge due to a surging wave or your car quickly became engulfed in water.

At that exact moment, could you imagine only thinking you could hold your breath for One Minute?

Could you imagine unlatching two kids in a car seat and possibly your spouse and saving them all including yourself, in less than one minute?

I call it Super Hero Dad training in my mind and literally imagine an emergency situation where my family’s lives are at stake. It’s like summoning a Super Power on command. It’s like the Mother who picks up the car off of her infant due to adrenaline. It’s hard to defend that it appears that parents in emergency situations to help save their children can summon SUPER POWERS.

Think that way, push yourself and you’ll hold your breath like German Free Diver, Tom Sieta, who is the current World Record holder setting the Breath-Holding Record: 22 Minutes, 22 seconds

All I’m saying is – push YOUR limits, however you can, every day, in every way.

How long can YOU hold your breath underwater? Try it and post below – let’s shatter personal barriers Do you have another Mental Barrier holding you back in life? Face your greatest fears, EXPAND and master your mind and own your life.

With your success, happiness and personal growth in mind,

Brian J. Cimins

P.S. I held my breath for 1:50 out of water while editing this article…lol

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