The fastest way to become successful in life is to find what you are passionate about and learn everything you can about it. Talk to successful people and learn from them. Work hard, and work harder. Don’t give up, and learn from failure. Have a mentor, and someone you can talk to when you need either emotional support or knowledge.
Perhaps I am jaded, but this is the best advice I can give you: Attach yourself to someone that is young and upwardly mobile and hang on for the ride. If you want the FASTEST way to the top, it will be by developing a strong network and exploiting it for all it is worth.
Now, I didn't say that was the best way to the top... but it is the fastest.
Check out this link below on Youtube.com. It is Will Smith talking about how he achieved his success in life. It is incredible. He talks about a seriously crazy work ethic that he has. He says, "When the other guy's sleepin', I'm workin'. When the other guy's eating, I'm workin'." He talks about making goals and committing yourself to those goals and the universe will get out of your way to make it happen. I show this to my students each year to motivate them, but it also motivates me. I also know that the times in my life when I'm stuck to goals even when things were tough, I generally succeeded in the end. The quickest way to success is not making stupid decisions that divert you from your path. Bad habits, bad friendships, and bad jobs only limit your progress.
You might want to read Malcolm Gladwell's book, The Outliers, in which a great chapter discusses the idea that if you want to be successful, you need to put in 10,000 hours first, practicing your craft or discipline. People who appear to have become successful rapidly only appear to have done so. You might also want to take note of the fact that people who become instantly rich, through the lottery or through inheritance, for example, usually are not successful, making poor judgements and squandering what they have. Chance favors the prepared!
Even the fastest way isn't really fast. The fastest way is to have a great idea and then work really hard to make it reality. This is how people like Bill Gates got to be successes in life. The quickest way to get rich is by winning the lottery, but that's not the same as success in life.