From an email conversation with a friend, concerning a mutual friend:
You know, he might not see the past years as wasted. I don’t think he was able to formulate an understanding that he accomplished absolutely nothing in that time that had any significance. Well, maybe not absolutely nothing, but very little.
Many, if not most of us, do not fully appreciate our strengths and, in particular, our weaknesses.
Probably most of us. But there is also potential wilful blindness. In this case, he did his own thing, even when he could see no hope of accomplishing his goals, because he lost sight of the whole reason for doing what he was doing. It became exclusively about him.
And where focus on self ends up as a lost focus.