You are going to meet people who have worked hard their entire lives and never found success. They may have contentment in a way that a Fortune 500 CEO could only dream of, but by the superficial standards of society, they have not succeeded. The jazz musician who is still griding away anonymously in clubs after forty years gigging, the art teacher who exhibits at the gallery on weekends, the craftsman who sells his wares out of a beat up pick-up truck: none of these people "succeeded," not one of them has attained the "American Dream." Fortune and notoriety generally only come about as a result of hard work, but you'll also need opportunity. You have to find yourself at the right place at the right time.
You'll also meet people who drifted into financial comfort and even success through no effort of their own. Try not to punch them in the face.