"I think the harder you work, the more luck you have."
Sol D. Bayliss Lodge No. 359 (IN)
It's been proven over and over again--there is no substitute for hard work. You just won't get the same result by trying to substitute talent, or education, or creativity. Those are all very powerful gifts as well, but unless you're willing to back that up by putting in the hours, it's completely useless. And let me tell you another great truth--hard work beats talent if talent isn't willing to work hard. And those willing to work hard usually see the payoff, and those who aren't willing, are the ones standing at the sidelines making snarky little comments like, "he's had all the breaks."
Dave Thomas was right--you make your own luck, and there aren't any shortcuts.