I don't think you'll get many people to disagree on this board. BUT I think that is a relatively common attitude amongst some trainees. People inevitably judge success by different criteria so what you said here:
"He wants to appear to be successful without being it."
For some people the success is merely in the look. So for them, it's a genuine success.
Not saying I agree, obviously I don't, but people will judge success from different angles.