In drawing class, you learn about perspective and the way something farther away looks smaller than something close. But with stars, you can never gauge just how far they are. Your mind reads the sky as those that are brightest are closest.
But brighter doesn't mean closer. Brighter doesn't mean bigger. Brighter is just a state of being.
Like the stars, people tend to use certain things, like academic and professional success, as a filter by which to view a person's status. But people are just people are just people.
If you want to see them clearly, look for the happiest— they are the ones that burn brightest.