Most of us are not that serious about succeeding most of the time.
Oh, we say we are. We put effort into it, forgetting that effort spent in the wrong direction is just like making no effort at all. We put emotion into it, forgetting that emotion seldom accomplishes anything more than making us feel a certain way. We put it to purity of thought and belief, forgetting that these things alone may make us feel intellectually superior but often will not accomplish the goals that we seek.
Success is not an accident. It is not a mysterious thing that lies veiled on the other side of a mystic curtain that only a few can interpret for the rest of us. It is, in most things, a series of facts and numbers which - when combined with effort in the right direction and emotion that empowers and purity of thought and belief that inspires - will get us where we need to go. But it is always based on those facts and numbers.
If we were truly interested in succeeding - at anything - we would not start from the other things but we would start with three things:
1) What do we want to succeed in doing?
2) What are the steps to accomplish this thing?
3) What do I have to do to do those steps?
We usual get the first one correct. And once we know what to do, we can usual get the third item right as well (that is the one fueled by self-discipline and hard work and effort, emotion, and purity of thought and belief). It is the second that we usually fail to grasp (which means, of course, we typically do not get the third item correct either).
Why? Because we have our view of how that success should be achieved rather than looking at the actual facts and numbers and tracks of those that have gone on before. By now in the history of the world there is very little that has not already been accomplished by someone, somewhere. But somehow we believe that we can do it differently because our effort/emotion/purity of belief is stronger than the facts and numbers. We are wrong most of the time, of course, but only realize this on the other side of the issue, when we are left with the defeat or failure and trying to analyze what went wrong (usually incorrectly analyzed as well, as we do not like to look at the thing right in front of our face).
Do we want to succeed at anything? Then we need to to the things that lead to success, not the things we think lead to success. Otherwise, we are simply pandering to ourselves and our feelings or intellect in the worst way.
Glorious defeats may be remembered, but they are not the thing that successful changes are made of.