It’s a matter of which stew that you, the ingredient, are simmering in. Surround yourself with successful, hard-working people and you will either become more like them or get pressured out. It’s just the same if you are the successful, hard-working outlier among a poor community; chances are the mutual discomfort will force you out.
I work around incredibly smart, often Ivy-league/Stanford-educated professionals with advanced degrees (I attended a state college and never got an advanced degree) and I can say without a doubt that I am not the person I am had I not been in their company through a combination of hard work, careful relationship-building and happy accident. They made me better.
So for the poor and humble, maybe step one, like the author, is getting yourself surrounded by those Most Likely to Succeed, because they’ll probably rub off on you.