Roethlisberger argues that people who are preoccupied with success ask the wrong question. They ask, “what is the secret of success” when they should be asking, “what prevents me from learning here and now?” To be overly preoccupied with the future is to be inattentive toward the present where learning and growth take place. To walk around asking, “am I a success or a failure” is a silly question in the sense that the closest you can come to answer is to say, everyone is both a success and a failure.
As usual, Weick sees things another way, and teaches us something. One of the implications of this statement is that the most constructive ways to go through life is to keep focusing on what you learn and how you can get better in the future, rather than fretting or gloating over what you've done in the past (and seeing yourself as serving a life sentence as a winner or loser). Some twists of Weick's simple ideas are explored in Carol Dweck's compelling research in in Mindset.
P.S. The source for this quote is Weick, Karl E. How Projects Lose Meaning: "The Dynamics of Renewal." in Renewing Research Practice by R. Stablein and P. Frost (Eds.). Stanford, CA: Stanford. 2004.