Scott Young has written a really good post about what he calls “The Effort Delusion“.
The world is changing. Hard work alone isn’t going to get you anywhere. And more professionals are realizing it.
I think one other factor that is really important today is passion. More so than in the past. It’s so easy to start a company, to start something new, that there is so much competition. And there’s so much choice available (through the internet, etc) that customers are able to choose from almost all the choices. And so being the best is crucial.
And you have to have passion to be the best. I think passion is the value that ties the 3 (4 if you include hard work) values he mentions. If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, you won’t be spurred on to pursue any of the values Scott writes about. Because to creativity and learning (relationships are more personal so I don’t really wish to comment on that) are risk pursuits. They require a shift in mindset and a new way of thinking, it requires a step forward, which you won’t be willing to take if you’re not passionate about what you’re doing.
Passion, that’s the most important factor, in my opinion.