Successful people, or people who think they are successful, all believe that life is a meritocracy because this makes them superior to all of the average people.
Average people want to believe in this principle when they are faced with those who are less-than average, but any such ranking system would indicate that they are inferior to the successful. They can’t admit that so they just don’t think about any of it.
Life is not a meritocracy. It’s not a crap shoot either. Nothing is guaranteed. Lazy people get successful, hard-working people fail and wind up smoking crack in a corner behind the dumpster. Kind people suffer and die and assholes prosper, good guys get shot and bad guys get away with it. Everybody likes to pat themselves on the back and forget the advantages they had and pretend that they got success because they are just too cool to fail.
Everybody alive is more successful than the dead people. That’s how “success” really works. You have no control of anything. People who have money, who have fulfilling and profitable careers, just have not meant the right drunk driver, rapist with AIDS, workplace shooter, or period of suicidal depression due to a malfunctioning brain. If you think any of that is because you are so awesome, remember that the cancer, or one of the aforementioned things is out there, waiting for you. You won’t always be cool.