1. For me, it all boils down to this: at the end of the day, when you look at your life (not circumstances, mind you -- everyone will have things happen to them which are better or worse) -- truly look at your life (the people you love, the day-to-day workings that get you from the morning to the evening) -- if you can say, "I'm glad this is the life I have", then life is truly good.
2. This doesn't mean we don't have dreams (hopes, goals -- whatever you want to call them), but it means we realize that whether or not those dreams come true exactly as we want them to, we'll still be okay.
3. Most of all, this has nothing to do, imo, with other people (beyond our friends and family -- those who are our 'village') -- be they successful or not, cool or not, positive or not. True contentment and joy and peace comes from within, not from those we surround ourselves with. I think one of the wisest things I've ever heard was at a wedding. The pastor said many great things, but this was the kicker: "You do not become happy because you find someone who loves you and someone to love. Getting married -- even to the most wonderful person in the world -- will not make you happy. Happiness comes from within, from understanding and accepting and enjoying yourself. Happy single people become happy married people -- unhappy single people become unhappy married people." (Yeah, that's a bit of a paraphrase because I didn't have a tape recorder, hehe). But substitute writing (or any dream) for marriage, and I think that's one of the keys to life.
However, this is all just my outlook. I don't expect anyone else to truly see it the way I do :) We're all different -- it's part of what makes this world so interesting.