If you examine success as achieving a goal and a goal is a benchmark on the path to your ideal state of being, then success would have to equate to progress.
Assuming you believe that, then what happens when you do not make progress towards your goal? What is a lack of progress? Something had to have happened as a result of our efforts, so if your state of being is not noticeably better, what happened?
You could make the case that in the absence of success, you experienced failure.
You could also make the case that in the absence of progress, you preserved your status quo.
At this point, you may be tempted to make an association between failure and status quo. Avoid that temptation.
Failure, or an obvious lack of success, provides useful feedback. This is important information that can guide your future efforts to achieve that elusive goal. Sure, failure is not fun. Nobody likes to fail. However, failure has one redeeming quality - if you use a growth mind-set and reflect on your efforts, you learn something. There is always a lesson in failure.
Status quo is also a lack of progress. However, status quo looks exactly like the state of being you were in before. Status quo is not as scary as failure because status quo provides comfort. It is safe. A growth mind-set is no more valuable in status quo as a fixed mind-set because growth implies change and status quo, by definition, rejects change. In addition, with the absence of an obvious failure, you lose the ability to identify specific areas to adjust in order to try again.
So what is worse, failure or status quo?
Failure might sting, but you can emerge from failure with the knowledge you need to try again. It is the absence of progress with knowledge attached.
Status quo is a lack of progress that leaves you as unsure of how to grow as before.
You might find short term comfort in status quo. However, that is a plan built on rejecting learning. It is a plan that cannot succeed for anyone seeking a learning experience - students, teachers, parents, etc.
One of the scariest things a teacher can say is, "I wouldn't change anything."
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