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Life Stories

“Peak Performance: Daniel’s Climb to Business Success”

This lesson is designed to build your critical-thinking skills in English as you read, listen, and answer different types of comprehension and discussion questions.

Pre-Listening Activities for Teachers

Although these questions are related to classroom instruction, independent learners can reflect on the ideas and topic to prepare for the listening portion of the lesson.

  1. Brainstorming Travel Experiences: Start the pre-listening activity by engaging the students in a brainstorming session. Ask them to share any memorable travel experiences they have had or know about, whether it’s their own adventures or stories they’ve heard from others. This will help activate their prior knowledge and get them in the mindset of the story’s theme, which involves travel, business, and adventure.

  2. Vocabulary Preview: Introduce some key vocabulary words from the story that might be challenging for the students. These could include terms like “entrepreneur,” “innovative,” “terrified,” “adaptable,” and “culture.” Provide definitions and example sentences for each word to aid comprehension during the listening activity.

  3. Predicting the Story’s Plot: Divide the students into small groups and have them read the title of the story: “An Adventure in Nepal.” Ask each group to predict what they think the story might be about based on the title alone. Encourage them to discuss and share their ideas with the class. This activity will pique their curiosity and set the scene for the listening exercise.

  4. Cultural Exchange Discussion: Since the story involves Daniel’s experiences in a foreign country, Nepal, initiate a discussion about cultural exchanges. Ask the students to talk about the benefits and challenges of living in a different country, interacting with people from diverse backgrounds, and experiencing a new culture. Encourage them to share their thoughts and opinions.

  5. Creating Imaginary Mishaps: In the story, Daniel is known for his unintentional comedy and accidental antics. Have some fun with the students by asking them to create imaginary mishaps or funny situations that could happen to Daniel during his time in Nepal. Encourage them to be creative and humorous in their ideas.


Listen and read the story and answer the questions. Key vocabulary words are marked in bold.


A Language activity from Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Lab.

Once upon a time in a bustling city, there was a quirky boss named Mr. Reynolds who ran a company that specialized in creating innovative climbing equipment.

His company had been doing exceedingly well, and he was ready to take it to new heights – quite literally! He hatched a plan to open a sales office in the exotic land of Nepal, the perfect gateway to the Himalayas and the climbing enthusiasts that roamed its rugged terrains.

The lucky employee chosen for this exciting venture was Daniel, an enthusiastic but slightly clumsy fellow who had never traveled overseas. Daniel’s reaction to the news was priceless.

When Mr. Reynolds called him into his office to discuss the matter, Daniel thought he was about to get a promotion or a raise. Instead, he found himself staring at a world map with a giant red circle around Nepal.

“Daniel,” Mr. Reynolds began, “I have a proposition for you that will change your life forever!”

Daniel tried to mask his anxiety with a nervous smile. “Umm, yes, sir??”

“We are going to open a sales office in Nepal, and I want you to lead the way!” Mr. Reynolds announced, eyes sparkling with excitement.

“Nepal? That’s amazing!” Daniel said, trying to match his boss’s enthusiasm, although secretly, he was terrified. He had never traveled beyond his hometown, and now he was supposed to lead a mission to a foreign country!

“Think about the possibilities, Daniel!, Mr. Reynolds continued. “The breathtaking landscapes, the vibrant culture, and of course, the mountain climbing enthusiasts who will love our new equipment. You’ll have the chance to learn so much about international business and connect with people from all over the world.”

Daniel’s heart started to pound. He was excited, no doubt, but his anxiety was on a parallel climb. “But, sir, I’ve never been overseas. How am I supposed to do all this?”

With a hearty laugh, Reynolds replied, “That’s precisely why this is an amazing opportunity! You’ll be learning on the go, quite literally. Besides, I have full faith in you, Daniel. You’ve proven yourself to be resourceful, and adaptable, and not to mention, you make everyone laugh with your accidental antics!”

Daniel blushed. He was known around the office for his unintentional comedy, like spilling coffee on important documents or tripping over invisible obstacles. He didn’t exactly see how these skills would be helpful in Nepal.

Mr. Reynolds, seeing Daniel’s worried expression, reassured him, “Don’t worry, Daniel! You won’t be alone. We’ll provide you with all the support you need. You’ll have a team to work with, and I’m sure you’ll make friends in no time. Plus, imagine the stories you’ll have to tell when you return!”

Daniel chuckled nervously, “I suppose it will be quite the adventure.”

“And think of the experience you’ll gain! This will undoubtedly be a feather in your cap, Daniel. People will look at you and say, ‘Hey, that’s the guy who opened our [Nepal] office!'” Mr. Reynolds beamed.

Daniel couldn’t deny the allure of that prospect. Sure, he’d face challenges and the occasional mishap, but he knew he couldn’t pass up such a unique opportunity. “Alright, Mr. Reynolds, count me in!”

And so, the preparations began. Daniel had to get his passport, learn about the Nepalese culture, and brace himself for a world of new experiences. The day finally arrived when he set foot on Nepalese soil, and the adventure commenced.

From navigating the busy streets of Kathmandu to finding himself in amusing language mix-ups, Daniel embraced it all with a positive attitude and a sense of humor.

He managed to win the hearts of the locals with his affable nature, and soon, the sales office was up and running. Daniel’s infectious laughter and hard work became an essential part of the office culture, and he led his team to great success.

Back in the home office, Mr. Reynolds would receive weekly emails full of delightful stories of Daniel’s escapades. From befriending a mischievous street dog he named “Sherpa” to joining a traditional dance festival, Daniel’s adventures became the highlight of the office’s coffee breaks.

Mr. Reynolds was proud of his decision to send Daniel to Nepal. Not only did the sales office thrive, but Daniel also grew into a confident and culturally-enriched individual. When Daniel finally returned after two years, the entire office threw him a grand party, complete with a Nepalese-themed cake.

As Daniel stood there, surrounded by his colleagues and friends, he couldn’t help but smile at his boss. “Thank you, Mr. Reynolds. This has been the most incredible journey of my life!”

Mr. Reynolds grinned and replied, “Daniel. You’ve given us all a journey to remember. And now, who knows what’s next? Perhaps a Mars sales office?”

The room erupted in laughter, but as they all knew, with Daniel, anything was possible! And so, the company continued to climb to new heights, fueled by Daniel’s adventurous spirit and the humorous memories of their time in Nepal.

Comprehension Questions: Self-Grading Quiz

Comprehension Questions in Text Format

1. Why did Mr. Reynolds want to send Daniel overseas?

A) To give Daniel a well-deserved vacation.
B) To open a new sales office for climbing equipment in Nepal.
C) To explore the breathtaking landscapes of Nepal.
D) To test Daniel’s ability to handle mishaps in a foreign country.

2. What was Daniel’s initial reaction when Mr. Reynolds told him about the overseas opportunity?

A) He was excited and ready for the adventure.
B) He felt terrified and unsure about the idea.
C) He was confused and didn’t know how to respond.
D) He thought he was getting a promotion.

3. What made Daniel famous among his colleagues back at the home office?

A) His unintentional comedy and accidental antics.
B) His resourcefulness in handling business matters.
C) His ability to speak the Nepalese language fluently.
D) His expert knowledge of climbing equipment.

4. How did Daniel manage to win the hearts of the locals in Nepal?

A) By offering discounts on climbing equipment.
B) By organizing dance performances during festivals.
C) By embracing their culture and being friendly.
D) By showcasing his remarkable climbing skills.

5. What was the key takeaway from Daniel’s overseas adventure in Nepal?

A) Opening a sales office in Nepal was a complete failure.
B) Mr. Reynolds regretted sending Daniel overseas.
C) Daniel’s journey was uneventful and unremarkable.
D) Daniel learned to adapt and thrive in a foreign environment.

Answers and Explanations

B) To open a new sales office for climbing equipment in Nepal.
B) He felt terrified and unsure about the idea.
A) His unintentional comedy and accidental antics.
C) By embracing their culture and being friendly.
D) Daniel learned to adapt and thrive in a foreign environment.


Question 1: Mr. Reynolds wanted to send Daniel overseas to open a new sales office for their climbing equipment products in Nepal. This was mentioned in the story when Mr. Reynolds presented the proposition to Daniel.

Question 2: Daniel’s initial reaction to the overseas opportunity was that he felt terrified and unsure about the idea. The story explicitly states that when Mr. Reynolds told Daniel about the plan, Daniel was secretly terrified because he had never traveled abroad before.

Question 3: Daniel became famous among his colleagues at the home office due to his unintentional comedy and accidental antics. This is evident in the story when it mentions how Daniel was known for spilling coffee on important documents and tripping over invisible obstacles, which made everyone laugh.

Question 4: Daniel managed to win the hearts of the locals in Nepal by embracing their culture and being friendly. The story implies that Daniel’s affable nature helped him connect with the Nepalese people, and he made friends in no time.

Question 5: The key takeaway from Daniel’s overseas adventure in Nepal was that he learned to adapt and thrive in a foreign environment. This conclusion can be drawn from the fact that Daniel embraced the challenges, made the most of the learning opportunities, and succeeded in opening the sales office in Nepal.

Discussion Questions

Easy (Recall and Comprehend):

  1. Who is the boss in the story, and what is the name of the employee chosen for the Nepal adventure?
  2. What is Daniel known for around the office that makes people laugh?
  3. Why was Daniel initially terrified when Mr. Reynolds presented the opportunity to go to Nepal?

Intermediate (Analyze and Interpret):

  1. How does Daniel manage to win the hearts of the locals in Nepal, according to the story?
  2. What reassurances does Mr. Reynolds give to Daniel when he expresses concern about going to Nepal?
  3. In what ways does Daniel’s unintentional comedy play a role in the story, especially in a foreign setting?

Advanced (Analyze and Interpret):

  1. Discuss the significance of the title “Peak Performance: Daniel’s Climb to Business Success” and how it reflects the story’s narrative.
  2. Examine the leadership qualities demonstrated by Daniel throughout the story. How do these qualities contribute to the success of opening the sales office in Nepal?
  3. Evaluate the impact of cultural exchange on Daniel’s personal and professional development during his time in Nepal.

    Language Game

    Interactive Adventure Simulation: “Daniel’s Expedition Quest”

    Objective: Engage students using a dynamic, multi-modal activity that incorporates visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and reading/writing elements, all tied to the theme of the story.

    1. Preparation:

      • Create a large game board representing Daniel’s journey in Nepal, with key locations and challenges marked.
      • Design game cards with challenges, opportunities, and cultural experiences based on the story.
    2. Game Setup:

      • Divide the class into small groups, assigning each group a playing token.
      • Each group gets a set of game cards and a dice/spinner.
    3. Gameplay:

      • Students take turns rolling the dice or spinning to move their token along the game board.
      • When a group lands on a space, they draw a game card and follow the instructions. Challenges might involve answering questions related to the story, and opportunities may involve acting out cultural scenarios.
    4. Interactive Challenges:

      • For visual learners, incorporate visuals on the game cards, like pictures of Nepalese landmarks.
      • Auditory learners can participate in discussions prompted by the cards, sharing their thoughts on Daniel’s experiences.
      • Kinesthetic learners act out cultural scenarios mentioned in the cards.
      • Reading/writing learners can record reflections on the challenges and opportunities they encounter.
    5. Culminating Activity:

      • After completing the game, each group writes a short collaborative story summarizing their journey, emphasizing challenges overcome and lessons learned.
      • Visual learners create a visual representation of their group’s story on a large poster.
      • Auditory learners present their group’s story in a short radio show format, narrating key events.
      • Kinesthetic learners act out a scene from their group’s story.
      • Reading/writing learners compile the written collaborative story.
    6. Discussion and Reflection:

      • Conclude the activity with a class discussion about the challenges faced by each group and the strategies they used to overcome them.
      • Ask students to reflect on how the activity relates to Daniel’s adventure in Nepal and the themes of the story.

    Outcome: This multi-modal activity allows students to experience and interact with the story’s theme of cultural exploration, challenges, and personal growth. It encourages teamwork, critical thinking, and creativity while catering to different learning preferences.

    Try More Free Listening at

    Here are 40 game cards for the “Daniel’s Expedition Quest” activity:

    1. Challenge Card: You faced a language barrier at a local market. Skip one turn as you learn and use a common Nepalese phrase.

    2. Opportunity Card: You discovered a hidden shortcut. Move forward two spaces.

    3. Challenge Card: Heavy rainstorm! Take shelter and miss one turn.

    4. Opportunity Card: You befriended a local guide. Move forward three spaces.

    5. Challenge Card: Customs delays! Go back two spaces.

    6. Opportunity Card: Positive media coverage! Move forward two spaces.

    7. Challenge Card: Negotiation hiccup with local suppliers. Go back one space.

    8. Opportunity Card: Impressed clients with a creative pitch. Move forward three spaces.

    9. Challenge Card: Lost luggage! Go back one space.

    10. Opportunity Card: Warm welcome from locals. Move forward two spaces.

    11. Challenge Card: Power outage at the office. Go back two spaces.

    12. Opportunity Card: Team successfully resolves a cultural misunderstanding. Move forward three spaces.

    13. Challenge Card: Traffic jam in Kathmandu. Skip one turn.

    14. Opportunity Card: Invited to a traditional Nepalese dinner. Move forward two spaces.

    15. Challenge Card: Miscommunication with officials. Skip one turn.

    16. Opportunity Card: Award for promoting sustainable climbing practices. Move forward three spaces.

    17. Challenge Card: Stumbled upon a mischievous street dog. Go back one space.

    18. Opportunity Card: Partnered with a local climbing school. Move forward two spaces.

    19. Challenge Card: Accidentally joined a traditional dance troupe during a festival. Skip one turn.

    20. Opportunity Card: Received an invitation to a climbing expedition. Move forward three spaces.

    21. Challenge Card: Paperwork mishap. Skip one turn.

    22. Opportunity Card: Climbing equipment demonstration success. Move forward two spaces.

    23. Challenge Card: Tough competition from a rival company. Go back two spaces.

    24. Opportunity Card: Secured a big order from a renowned climbing club. Move forward three spaces.

    25. Challenge Card: High-altitude climate struggle. Miss one turn to acclimatize.

    26. Opportunity Card: Unique advertising opportunity. Move forward two spaces.

    27. Challenge Card: Unexpected customs delays. Go back one space.

    28. Opportunity Card: Media coverage for the new office. Move forward three spaces.

    29. Challenge Card: Miscommunication with team members. Go back one space.

    30. Opportunity Card: Collaborated well and resolved a challenge. Move forward three spaces.

    31. Challenge Card: Accidentally knocked over a stack of brochures. Go back one space.

    32. Opportunity Card: Made friends with a local climber. Move forward two spaces.

    33. Challenge Card: Got lost in the bustling streets of Kathmandu. Go back two spaces.

    34. Opportunity Card: Found a hidden shortcut. Move forward two spaces.

    35. Challenge Card: Accidentally spilled coffee on important documents. Go back one space.

    36. Opportunity Card: Impressed clients with a creative pitch. Move forward three spaces.

    37. Challenge Card: Language barrier encounter. Skip one turn to learn a phrase.

    38. Opportunity Card: Local festival celebration. Move forward three spaces.

    39. Challenge Card: Unexpected rainstorm. Miss one turn.

    40. Opportunity Card: Climbing equipment demonstration success. Move forward two spaces.

    These game cards add a variety of challenges and opportunities to the “Daniel’s Expedition Quest” activity, enhancing the engagement and excitement of the game.

    Different AI technologies, including ChatGPT and an AI voice generator, were used in a collaborative way to prepare the content for this lesson.