Preface and skippable text, jump to the break to skip this. I'm going to contribute more, because a significant amount of my learning came from learning exactly what didn't work. My story is common and forgettable so I'll skip details, but hit the main points that should hammer in that I've served many banners of all the sides telling you "What to do" and "Who you should be and serve". I grew up in the All-American family. All my father's before me served armed forces. My family is high IQ, working class, and come from one line of farmers and males who served their families from young ages, to members that have traveled the world and served higher masters. Masters have included the church, the state, family (including an over-bearing mother), ideal causes (including seeing into the greed of the high end side of the non-profit world), and generally a family that is formed by the "Fear" of god and always doing "what's right" and having all the accolades of the elite grades based clubs of universities. Not skull and bones or anything like that, more so at universities that cranked out working class members. My advice is to those striving from the average side. I've seen what happens when you "Win" the game and have all the grades to prove, degrees to prove, and are the most qualified. AKA, I've seen what happens when you "WIN" the blue pill game. My advice is for anyone who thinks there is salvation if you "out-work" your way to the top while still holding the blindfold over your face and serve any system that's been made to accept young members who can prove themselves.
The world is full of cowards, at first this is terrifying and you'll feel lost, but with PURPOSE, this is the most exhilarating fact of life.
When you "Win" the blue pill game, and show how good you are at the systems in place for you, you realize a few things and are forced to take the Red Pill not because you wanted to, but because that's literally the only step left. Even if you are the best among the 99%, you will still be given a system that leaves you unhappy. Secondly, no matter what society is deciding, it was never in your favor, and was only making you better at serving someone else. There was never going to be a way that led to satisfaction and the very nature of society is to create young people that serve those who are capitalizing off of others too lazy to think for themselves.
There are a few things that happen once you "win". You realize that outworking everyone wasn't really all that hard. It was more about what you didn't do more so than it ever was about what you did. Simply avoiding distractions and outworking people is pretty simple. Most people are lazy.
The worst part though is that you realize that people who were guiding you (societal pressure at all levels) never had your best interest in mind no matter how much they stated they did. If you take this system that you find in front of you, you're never going to be happy. No matter how hard you work and "win", you are always left with this gigantic lack of anything significant or meaningful in your life, and the game is up. You realize the entire time that you were chasing things that have been setup for you to desire something else and chase another ghost that can be sold to you.
If you are chasing anything other than your own desires that you have decided on, and your own goals and dreams... what can only be called your own purpose, then you will never reach a point of satisfaction. All those people that were easy to beat in whatever system you reached the top of, is serving another set of lazy people from a system that just made a better system for more lazy people. This world is not and never will be based on merit in most every arena you ever find yourself participating in. If you didn't decide on the prize, the you and many other people are all competing for something that someone else has created to serve their own purpose.
If you don't decide what prize you want, you willl always be competing for a "prize" that someone else set up. And usually this system is created to capitalize on the young, and their ability to compete.
Your life should always start with asking yourself what you desire. As a young person, don't desire based on competition first, make your desire first, and compete for the prize you decided you want. The best news is that the very few 1% who are not cowards will be extremely excited to help you out if you actively seek out serving them. The 1% are generally some of the most helpful and happy people, and they will usually share with you whatever helped them, but especially if you find a way to help them win in the process too.
TL;DR - You have to start with purpose. The world is generally lazy and pretty easy to beat with focus, goals, and grit. But if you don't define what you want first, and simply desire what everyone else is desiring, then you're not going to win, you're just being handed another system that was made to capitalize off of you. Even being first will end with you losing. Even the best path on the "bluepill" is going to lead you to a place of being dissatisfied in life and serving someone else. This world really isn't that complicated, but if there is a system in place, it's generally promoted to capitalize on the effort of those who are competing. Define your purpose first, define your own competitions, define what you desire. Nobody can help you with that but you, and the later you start, the more painful it will be when you inevitably are forced to do it. There is no salvation any other way. Your only salvation is defining your own purpose. If you don't know your purpose, a good place to start is with questions and who you respect. There's more in this sub and others for finding purpose, but that's your battle and nobody can tell you what it is.