The poll results so far align well with the myth (American dream?) that anyone can be successful if they work really hard. I voted hard work but I want to point out that hard work being the number one driver of success and anyone being successful if they work really hard are two wildly different things. Well, pretty different for the purpose of this poll anyway. A lot of this is also about at what level you define professional success. I suspect that this board tends to be skewed toward the high end of income and education and that what's considered successful is going to be similarly skewed. As you increase the base level required to be considered successful hard work rapidly becomes a prerequisite and other things begin to differentiate the successful.