I'm a lucky man.
If you talked to me a few years ago, I would have had a hard time admitting that. I would have said that whatever success I've had was due to blood, sweat, and tears. I've since realized how utterly self-serving that was.
I've achieved more than I ever thought I could in my career. All I wanted was not to make my parents regret letting me get an art degree by having to pay my bills and student loans after graduating from college. So I worked my ass off and thought that I earned everything I got.
I didn't appreciate enough that I was born to a family who cared about education and prioritized it for the kids. I romanticized the story of having been born in a developing country and then immigrating with my family in pursuit of the American dream. I didn't appreciate being in the right place at the right time at key points in my life & career to meet all the people who taught me, corrected me, and gave me numerous opportunities to grow. I attributed my progress to my capabilities and motivation. Being born with good mental & physical health has been taken for granted while I pat myself on the back for getting myself to the gym every week. And so on. I discounted those things that helped and elevated all the challenges I overcame.
There's a corrosive belief among some people that the poor deserve their lot in life and, conversely, the rich deserve theirs. This is an example of the just-world hypothesis or fallacy which rationalizes people's misfortune because they deserve it in some way or another. How horrible is that?
I don't completely discount the value of hard work, but if that was all that was required, then so many more people deserve a measure of success. Working hard is never a guarantee but does create opportunities to maximize the beneficial effects that luck brings.
I'm a lucky man. Now, back to work.