Something I feel very strongly about: you can create your own life, exactly the way you want it to be. There can be so much pressure in this world to be this way or that, or to follow the same path as everyone else: do well in school and extracurricular activities, go to college and continue to do well, graduate and get a job at a prestigious or well-known company, and then work for 30+ years while climbing the corporate ladder, getting promotions and raises along the way until you reach the corner office; all while buying a house, getting married, having kids, saving for their college, going on vacation, and saving for your own retirement. This is seen as being “successful.” However, I say create your own definition of success, find your own perspective on what it means to be successful and do that; create that life. Success to me is doing what you love and being content doing it while focusing on family, friends and relationships; realizing that life is short and that it can be taken away at any time, so you live life exactly the way you want to live it, not how others want you to live it. This will be different for everyone.
In the same breath, realize that you have the control to make the decisions in your life to get where you want to be, to live the life you want. The best way to predict the future, is to invent it. You have the reigns, you make the decisions, you create your life. Don’t be a victim and let life happen to you. You are in charge and you decide. And don’t worry about naysayers, not everyone will agree with you.
One of my all time favorite song lyric is from The Avett Brothers: Decide what to be and go be it.
As an example, here are two different perspectives by the same person (me) on the same subject (my belly).