The modern world breeds failures. Each of us is forced by fate to routinely fail at everything we set out to do. Success is fast becoming the domain of a select few supermen gifted with wealth and means unavailable to most. But there are some simple ways for each of us lowly commoners to become successful. I have identified six major steps in life that every person must take in order to be considered successful. Of each step, I have written a few brief words to show you how I personally achieved success, in the quiet dignified hope that you might follow in my path. If these steps work for you, I ask that you kindly e-mail me twenty dollars.

STEP ONE: YOU HAVE TO CLIMB A MOUNTAIN

The mountain loomed before me and me alone. True, other people were making use of the mountain and I had to park really far from the visitor center because of the massive amounts of people there, but this mountain, this bold proclamation of nature, was mine alone in spirit.

I reached down to pet the mountain. My hand gently stroked and massaged a rock jutting out from the mountain's domineering surface. "There, there," I said. "You're a good mountain, but today I have to climb you. There's no way around that, unless I go around you, but that is beside the point of this endeavor. Frankly, mountain, you're kind of a dick for even suggesting it."

I stood up and kicked that jerk rock, and it hurt in the way mistaking your shoe for an active beehive might hurt. The mountain would not go down easy.

"Very well, mountain, if this is how it is to be."

I steeled and electroplated my resolve, and prepared to make short work of this meager heap of rock. Having driven half way up, I would need only to hike a short distance to the visitor center, and then quickly jaunt up to the summit, some several thousand feet above.

By the time I reached the visitor center a quarter of a mile from my parking space, I began doubting if this mountain was actually worth climbing. It was foggy and windy and everywhere I looked the gray silhouettes of marmots sat perched atop the gray silhouettes of rocks, as if they were both one impractical object or the marmots themselves were carved out of rock by some ancient tribe that worshiped them as gods.

I decided then that I was wasting my precious time. All the effort I'd expend reaching the summit could be better spent elsewhere. I could climb this mountain easily if I wanted to, but at this point I no longer wanted to.

"I may not have reached your summit, but I don't really want to anymore. Thus, I have conquered you in my mind, mountain. I will also conquer the chili cheese dog and fries served in your visitor center's restaurant."

And so through the combined force of mental determination and physical resolve, I celebrated a victory over the mountain and scratched the first major success off my list. Like all good triumphs, I even endured the pain of sacrifice. The chili cheese dog gave me gas and a stomach ache on the drive home and I had to stop and use a Safeway restroom.

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