In any given field, if you ask the people who excel - really excel - it turns out they practice like heck and work long hours. It might not seem hard work to them because they often also have a passion for what they do, but it is hard work nonetheless.
Take this quote from Scientific American:
This is a well researched article which basically makes the point that experts in many fields are not just 'gifted', but more importantly 'driven'. The drive leads them on to practice their chosen skills to an extent that most people do not have the patience or desire for. And they continuously push themselves beyond their comfort zone - hard work.
"The one thing that all expertise theorists agree on is that it takes enormous effort to build these structures in the mind. Simon coined a psychological law of his own, the 10-year rule, which states that it takes approximately a decade of heavy labor to master any field. Even child prodigies, such as Gauss in mathematics, Mozart in music and Bobby Fischer in chess, must have made an equivalent effort, perhaps by starting earlier and working harder than others.
Ericsson argues that what matters is not experience per se but "effortful study," which entails continually tackling challenges that lie just beyond one's competence. That is why it is possible for enthusiasts to spend tens of thousands of hours playing chess or golf or a musical instrument without ever advancing beyond the amateur level and why a properly trained student can overtake them in a relatively short time."
Working smart can lead to short-lived victories, but true greatness almost always demands hard work too.