Main purpose of life is improvement. All disagreements occur on the definition and interpretation of this improvement.
There are two main types of improvements
(i) Improvement in what you are; and
(ii) Improvement in what you have.
Understanding the difference between the two is essential to get a clear perspective on life. One also needs to understand the distinction between actually improving and giving the impression of improving.
If one is actually improving, it is not necessary that he will also give the impression of improving. Also, if one is giving the impression of improving, it is not necessary that he is actually improving. The two can co-occur; it is just not necessary that they do.
If one bases his conclusion of whether he is improving and to what extent primarily on the approval / reaction of those around him, he faces the risk of confusing impression of improvement with actual improvement. Thus, making views of others the sole or primary criteria could result in illusions of improvement that could halt actual improvement (for lack of effort) and also cause much frustration as the real fruits of improvement are not gained despite all indicators showing its presence.
Such a perspective also reduces all improvement to the second type mentioned above, i.e. improvement in what you have. This causes multiple problems including
(b) Involvement of multiple factors beyond one’s control;
(c) Frustration caused by an initial misunderstanding of the essence of something one possesses or wants to possess;
(e) Dissatisfaction on what one has, especially when compared to what others have or appear to have;
(f) A sense of injustice;
Conversely, improvement in or struggle for improvement in what you are protects from most, if not all, of the above maladies. However, before embarking on a journey towards improvement in what one is, one needs to understand what he is at the start. Without knowing where you are, a journey towards any destination is difficult to plan.
One way to evaluate yourself is based on a general principle that whatever you do, you do it because you feel it benefits you in some way. So maybe you are what you do. Ask yourself what benefit you expected to derive from something you did or said. Analyze yourself in an unbiased manner. Be truthful. And start from where you are to higher places. Good Luck!