You know those people: They spent the past 10 years of their lives studying, reading, thinking, researching, testing, analyzing, writing, listening, and learning. Now some of those people have PhDs, medical degrees, law degrees, so on.... That is the life they chose. They might make good money, real good money. They might have the dream home, dream car, a wonderful spouse, and everything you've always been told was the solution to unhappiness. Of course, they may also have zip. It is possible that after spending lots of time and money on schooling, they ended up with a hopeless job with no future prospects or joy left in them.
You probably also know those other people: The ones who dropped out of college or high school or disappeared for several years, who traveled, created, explored, read, saw, did, felt, smelled, tasted, tried, went, and learned. Many of these people ended up photographers, writers, explorers... and some ended up homeless, or close enough to it.
What is success, though? Who holds the secret to being the "successful human being"? The obvious and easy answer is that every person has a different take on what success is. We all know there is an objective take on the word, though. Then, are you a failure if you do not accomplish those things, in the eyes of society? Every culture views it differently, as well. A lawyer in one country is as unimpressive as a shepherd in other countries. One culture's medicine man is as highly-revered as another culture's surgeon.
The hardest thing of all, though, is knowing what success means to YOU. Not to those around you and to your unconscious traditional standards. That is what we are used to considering. This is different. This is a question of where your life will lead that will make your efforts worth the energy, and every moment that you worked towards your goal still a worthwhile investment of time, effort, sweat, and tears.
However, when you have been fed a certain belief, it can be difficult to find your own success. Whether it means moving out of the farm life and becoming a construction worker or leaving the big business and becoming a henna artist in another country. Either of these can seem like a huge mistake. That is, if you get caught up in the ideals of others.
It is possible to be so caught up in one's guitar-playing that you never get to graduate school. Still, the experiences and all you learned and did because of this one skill may have been worth it. Others choose to regret these opportunities and times in life. It is not wrong. I don't believe that regret is bad. I believe denying what you truly seek is wrong. To an extent. Sometimes working hard at something you're uncertain of can be the road to something better. That may be where you find your success. Or, that it was all a waste of time.
This is a philosophical conundrum with no answer, no solution, no perfect or correct response. It's simply a matter of giving yourself the moment or moment and a half to recognize what your priority is. Not only today or tomorrow, but what is most likely going to make you proud 20, 30, 40 years down the road. You'll get there, and there's no reason not to work up to a good point starting now.
The part of it that we lose focus of is that it's one life. An entire existence, but simply one of billions. You and only you are living it and after you're dead, you made that life either extraordinary or you made it bland. There is no better, no worse, there is simply a life. While you're living it, you have every right and should feel nearly complete power over its twists and turns. I am simply curious to know what happens when you take those reigns.