<p>Prompt: Ballpoint pens do not write in zero-gravity conditions. While a pen manufacturer spent more than $2 million and years of research developing a pen that worked in outer space, astronauts solved the problem by using pencils. Describe a time when you discovered a simple solution to a seemingly complex problem. What was its impact on you or others?</p>
<p>An intense pain tore through my chest as I attempted to gather the energy in order to conquer the next step of the tumultuous climb. The vein on the side of my neck began to pulsate in perfect harmony with each of my breaths; beads of sweat began to pour down my face as I neared the top step. Was this really a set of stairs I was climbing up, or was I ascending to the summit of Mount Everest? With each grueling step, I felt as if the weight of the entire world was gradually being placed upon my shouldersliterally. </p>
<pre><code>The perseverance and determination paid off as I finally reached level ground. The fight for oxygen subsided as well as the reservoir of sweat that had formed on my lower back during the intense struggle. Bewildered by the events that had just transpired, I paused for a moment to state the obvious: I was overweight. My shoulders were never burdened by the mass of the Earth, but rather, they were forced to bear the weight of the potato chips, soda pop, and cupcakes that I had gorged myself with for the past sixteen years. I immediately renounced the malicious glutton inside me; yet, I subconsciously questioned myself as to the feasibility of the task on hand. Is it possible to break free of all that I have ever known?
Within the second hour of my new life I began to dread a future consisting of celery, dried oats, and soy milk. The very thought of subsisting on healthy food drove me to want food more; it provided comfort in a time of emotional pain. Over the next few months, I thought, my life would be defined by hunger panes, ab-rollers, and miracle diets. Surely I would not be able to endure the temptation bred by my mothers four-cheese lasagna without a nutritionist yelling in my ear Dont do it! Add the personal trainer, diet books, and Slim-Fast shakes. The financial resources that were needed far exceeded that of my $5.50 an hour job as a landscaper. The determination would have to come from an intrinsic source.
As the aroma of an impending feast pervaded every square-inch of my bedroom I became prisoner of my insatiable palate once againalmost. Mind over matter I thought. I was determined not to give in to the object that had plagued me for so many years. However, the overpowering scent of turkey and gravy created a phantasm of dancing turkeys and potatoes begging me to eat them. My feet moved a little bit, and then some more, and finally I was walking to my bedroom door. The door opened and I could see the dining room table in all of its glory. The food exhibited a powerful grip upon my body; it pulled me closer with each passing second. My aimlessly floating body finally reached the head of the table. Then I stopped. I stopped.
No, no, no, no, no. I was paralyzed by the inability to have thoughts other than the word no. The platter of turkey no longer enticed me to forage through it like a rabid animal. Mind over matter I thought again. I lifted my head up and continued to walk: outside.
My journey up to this point had been one of hunger and disappointment, but had I finally gained the will-power to stand up in the face of a bitter enemy? That day I was given a voice for dealing with personal struggle, without the help of any dietary supplements, kick-boxing videos, or personal coaching. The days, and even years, following were marred with similar situations, but even seventy pounds later, I do not waiver from one word: No.