What people say about an adventure or quest that involves perceived risk:
Successful Outcome: brave, courageous, confident
Failed Outcome: stupid, risky, naive, arrogant
- Chris Guillebeau (in The Happiness of Pursuit)
This doesn't just aply to an adventure or quest that involves perceived risk, but to everything that we do in our lives.
Outcomes are the only indicators for many of us to judge and be judged. Simply because it is objective, easily visible and is far less painful to verify than to judge on the effort, intent, ability, attitude and aptitude.
The latter set comprises of qualities that are subjective in nature. They are not easily verifiable and are rarely visible to someone who sees you from a distance or for the first time and has to judge you (everyone invariably judges everyone they meet - consciously or subconsciously) in a relatively short time.
This makes us game the system and cut corners and do whatever it takes to have our name against an accomplishment - be it a title, an award, an exam score - when we are being judged for the outcome. And more often than not, we are judged for the outcome.
This is why people prefer to hire from a set of people they and have worked with before, to buy from a store that has been around longer (even when the new store offers cheaper prices). Because they can predict the outcome with reasonable probability as they have seen the subjective qualities in action before, as they don't have to merely rely on previous outcomes.
With recommendations (on LinkedIn, Zomato, Flipkart, TripAdvisor, etc) playing such a growing role in every decision we make, it is becoming easier by the day to remove the barriers preventing us from judging by the subjective qualities.
The outcomes matter. But, so does the approach.