I was emailed an article a while by back by a friend, all about the big 5 factors of personality and success in med school. That spurred quite a discussion about the relative values of smarts and hard work, and the kinds of personalities that do well in various professions, but the winning quote my friend selected was: "people who bust ass almost always do well, all other things being equal."
As if on cue, here is an article from Brett McKay at the Art of Manliness about his own experiences in law school, using hard work to be successful. This is pretty much exactly what my friend and I were talking about, but it is always good to hear another perspective on the same problem. McKay claims to be average in intelligence, and to have succeeded in law school by dint of hard work, but honestly I have my doubts that he is that average. Probably what he means is that he is not in the intellectual elite defined as the top 1% or 5%, but is clearly close enough to be able to do what he does. The article is quite good, and realistic, McKay states that hustle won't turn an average basketball player into Michael Jordan, but it sure will make you better than you are.