Type A : you have talent, you're wasting it, do something intellectual and productive. I believe that these people measure success in life by what you accomplish.
Type B : you're still young, live it up, chase girls, travel, party. This mainly comes from aging lothario types who either miss their younger days or regret not partying more.
I don't believe that either of these get me anywhere, and both are phases I've gone through and I believe that I've grown past. In fact I'm quite proud to be past "Type A" and I consider it one of the few major emotional accomplishments of the past few years.
I used to believe that the best thing in life was to do some great work, and it didn't matter how shitty everything else was if you had some intellectual toil that was worthy. Certainly having good work is an enjoyable thing, and to feel like you are doing something important is very emotionally satisfying. Note that actually doing something good or important is irrelevant. What feels good is working at something you believe to be worthy of your work, and then the accolades afterward feel good too.
"Type A" also works for fame, though they usually don't admit it. I certainly did. To some extent, that is logical. I've written about this before, but fame is valuable. It gives you access and respect. It lets you talk to a better quality of people. I mean, if you go to GDC and you're just some shmo, you will talk to the other shmoes. If you're famous, you'll be in the back room with Will Wright and Masaya Matsuura and whoever else you think is cool.
But too often Type A is about avoiding all other aspects of life and seeking solace in work. And the truth is the actual accomplishments don't mean shit. You have certain pride about what you did in the past, but I don't need that any more. I think it mainly satisfies worries about your capabilities.
I used to be a totally shallow Type A. I didn't respect anyone except based on what they had accomplished, or what they were working towards. When I was in college doing physics, I would dream that there would someday be a "Bloom's Law" that kids would learn. Even when I was a complete social & life loser I would take solace in a sense of superiority based on accomplishments or my projected future accomplishments. Yeah, you may be friendly and happy and well adjusted and have all the girls, but some day I'll do something important.
"Type B" is all well and good, but those pleasures are just so temporary and tiring, they don't get you anywhere. There's nothing wrong with that per se, but it doesn't lead to happiness. Happiness comes from building something. Anything. A life. Chasing short term pleasure doesn't build anything, and the memories fade.
Now I see how silly that all is. I actually am not terribly impressed by people's accomplishments, though it does quickly send me a signal of what level I can talk to them on. Hey, you invented the iPod, I can at least talk something intellectually with you. Hey, you haven't done shit, let me just be quiet and roll my eyes at you.
The thing that really impresses me now is basic behavior.
I admire people who can interact with the common man without dumbing themselves down, but not condescending or being pedantic either, that's despicable. It's very rare. To actually talk to the average dolt and enjoy what they have to offer, but without agreeing with the retarded shit that they say (like "it doesn't matter who you vote for, they're all corrupt"). People who can be food snobs but still have a dinner party with non foodies and actually enjoy it and be nice.
I admire people who can do things they suck at and still enjoy it, but without being ironic or making fun of it. Like singing or dancing, any kind of performance, dressing up for halloween, whatever - but not the people who are actually good at it, that's not hard. The people who suck and KNOW they suck and do it anyway, and just enjoy it. That's amazing to me.
I admire people who can address confrontation or just talk directly about issues, but without making it a big deal. Like if someone does something you think is really rude to you, like they ate your food at the work fridge. If you can talk to them without getting all upset or passive aggressive or turning into the "mmkay" Office Space boss, I'm impressed.