Related to half-assing things with all you’ve got, I’ve noticed that there’s often a limit to how much you can succeed at a given task. If you write a paper for a class worth an A+ it’s certainly still possible to improve the paper, just not in the context of the course.
The Buddhist teacher Chogyam Trungpa once put this as “You will never be decorated by your guru.” In the presence of a master, your development of your art will never blow their mind and leave them deeply impressed—and if it did, it would only be a signal that you’re in need of a different master. It cannot be another way.
Thus, we should recognize success by the context we expect it to appear in, or the person who will be measuring it, and calibrate accordingly.
Good observation! The converse holds too—we should change context for those things we want to do better than the current mechanisms can measure.