Agreed on the emphasis most of these people put on hard work, but there’s one element that they miss: it’s not just “hard work”, it’s hard work “with a specific, well-defined objective”.
There are millions of people out there who work hard. Many of those people will have general, ill-defined goals like “get rich” or “get in shape”. How many of them will achieve those goals? Not many. The people who achieve them are those who identify the precise steps that they need to take and can focus their energies on taking each of those steps in turn.
Take running. Countless people take up running for their New Years resolution, but burn out by day 6. They went out there and ran as hard as they could, but were discouraged by how out of shape that were, their lack of progress, or the injuries that picked up through doing too much too soon. The people who are successful are those who do their research, discover a plan of steady progression like “Couch to 5k”, and stick to it.
Hard work will only take you so far by itself. It’s hard work coupled with specific, step by step objectives that is truly powerful.