Welcome to your American Experience, child. It holds great promise. Enjoy yourself, but know that your life comes with my expectations. Embrace the freedom to do what you want. However, above all else remember your ultimate purpose – to Climb. Continuously, confidently, without hesitation.

I know the Climb sounds daunting and, yes, it won’t always be pretty. It’s fraught with pitfalls and hidden dangers, mazes and conflicting choices. The Climb is a moving puzzle, a dangerous ride up an icy mountain, a constant battle for power. Times will come when everything seems jumbled and disoriented. At those moments you may feel the need for support, for help. Shadows of distraction and lines of confusion will greet you from every possible angle like welcoming friends. Beware their deceptions! When you reach out you may find what you thought a lifeline was nothing more than a trick of the light. And away you will fall, a failure like the rest of them. We can’t have that.

Oh, the Climb will get crowded too. The higher you go – and you will go high – the less room on the ladder. As you ascend look at those who surround you. They are all simultaneously racing to trump you. They want to steal your destiny for themselves. They’ll smile and glad hand while jostling at your shoulders, attempting to claw past you. They don’t care about The Golden Rule. Why should you? Save mercy for the merciful. You have no room for that, not when you Climb.

You will experience your doubts, but you won’t fail me, child. You have what it takes. You will reach the summit. You will squeeze out those who seek to topple you and you will win! The day will come when you’ll look down at them, those you beat, crowded beneath you. You will look into their eyes, crackling green with envy, as they sway arms locked, moving in unison to some unheard rhythm. All of them down there, together. And you on top, alone.


  1. kayjai says:

    Nicely done, John.


  2. BrainRants says:

    Awesome post, John.


  3. mysterycoach says:

    I wonder what would happen if one climbed but didn’t think they were above anyone else. If that would make a difference…


  4. Now you’ve bummed me out. My climbing days are over. I don’t want to be up there alone.


  5. The thing about climbing is that eventually you have to descend.


  6. ‘Beware their deceptions!’ Perhaps the deception is the expectation that we should climb.

    Excellent essay, John.


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