I have heard it said that Olympians who receive bronze medals are happier than the silver medal winners. Why? Because silver was this close to gold, but bronze has a whole competitor in between it. Psychologically, it is easier to accept the loss if you lose "bad enough" that you convince yourself first place wasn't an option.
But what if you have a do-over option? A second chance?
I just took a pass/fail exam last night and missed passing it by one question. I got 40 questions correct but that wasn't quite good enough. By the time I finished the exam, it was late and I had already had trouble getting setup to take the test in the first place. I was frustrated, for sure. But not completely devastated. Why?
I have another chance at taking the test. If I study just a little harder, I will surely pass the second time. It's a bit nerve wracking -- if I only failed by a tiny margin, will I only pass by a tiny margin as well? We'll find out. But just having that second chance makes failing by a hair not seem like the end of the world.