It is possible to live a reasonably prosperous life without exposing yourself to the high tax brackets. The progressive tax is a double-edge sword, they gouge you in the upper brackets, but if you move into the lower brackets the tax decreases significantly.
The trick is to live in a low cost-of-living area and live a downsized lifestyle. Get out of California or New York, work only a portion of the year if you can. The best life is to be self-employed where you combine what you love doing with earning a living. You can control the taxable income by plowing profits back into the business (just don’t hire employees, employees are toxic)