It is often contended that the belief that a person is solely responsible for his own fate is held only by the successful. This in itself is not so unacceptable as its underlying suggestion, which is that people hold this belief because they have been successful. I, for one, am inclined to think that the connection is the other way round and that people often are successful because they hold this belief. Though a man’s conviction that all he achieves is due solely to his exertions, skill, and intelligence may be largely false, it is apt to have the most beneficial effects on his energy and circumspection. And if the smug price of the successful is often intolerable and offensive, the belief that success depends wholly on him is probably the pragmatically most effective incentive to successful action; whereas the more a man indulges in the propensity to blame others or circumstances for his failures, the more disgruntled and ineffective he tends to become. (pp. 82-83)

This is from Friedrich Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty.

I wish I had remembered this quote years ago when I discussed President Obama’s famous speech in which he said to successful businessmen, “You didn’t build that.”