From Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast:
They say the seeds of what we will do are in all of us, but it always seemed to me that in those who make jokes in life the seeds are covered with better soil and with a higher grade of manure.
From a Globe interview with Malcolm Gladwell on his newest, Outliers:
Question: Are some people doomed to failure simply because of the lot they've been handed in life?
Gladwell: "We vary greatly in the degree of natural advantages that we've been given by the world: That's why governments step in a provide opportunities to try and level the playing field. That's why social interventions to provide opportunities are so important. Because the world's not fair."
(Seems to me that Gladwell speaks mostly out of his British, Canadian and U.S. background. Not sure which society Hemingway's observation comes out of.)