There are several clichés that suggest that if you simply apply yourself, things will work out in the end. Determination, hard work, and a little bit of confidence will lead to a positive outcome. The universe is a fair place.
The early bird gets the worm. Life is 10% inspiration, 90% perspiration. All in a day’s work. Luck is the residue of hard work and design.
Believing in these sayings would imply that the universe is a fair place. Good behavior will be rewarded, while bad behavior will be punished.
But is that true? There are instances where bad behavior is rewarded, and when good behavior is punished. History is filled with examples of violence, exploitation, bigotry, and greed. There are many historical (and current!) figures that have benefited from unethical behavior.
Of course, there are also many examples of people who have acted in the common good. There are also plenty of people who have been rewarded, both financially as well as with public adoration, for hard work or generosity.
So instead of a fair, just universe, wouldn’t that suggest that life is largely luck? Good and bad things can happen to good and bad people. Life is a series of random events, and trying to predict what will happen in the future is tremendously difficult.
Or maybe the universe does indeed reward grit and determination. Not in every single case, surely, but perhaps as a general rule. Clichés become clichés for a reason — they may very well be good rules to follow.
Or to ask a simple question: Is life fair?