What if we are instead marching more towards mediocrity than success. Avoiding failure and success. The slow ebb of normalizing mediocrity.
What if we convinced ourselves that we were putting it all out there and giving it everything we had despite knowing that we weren't? We'd still get the pats on the back and could walk away from it lamenting for all to hear "it just wasn't meant to be." Then we could go back to what we knew content with failure until it becomes routine.