Interesting article. Not just hard work pays off, it has to be mind numbing, soul breaking work for you to be #1 at whatever your goal is. So of course only those with the disciple to do that get there. However when it comes to sports as an example I believe that there is such a thing as natural ability. No one works harder at his game than Vjay Singh, and yet he is still not as good as Tiger. If it was just a matter of working harder then he should be better or at least as good.
Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals ... except the weasel.