I know not one but sveeral cases where people switched their careers later in life and did better than people who were studying that for years.
Competitive exams people pass exams in first attempt and others sturggle for years.
There’s defintiely more to “hard work” needed to pass those exams.
I am sure you would know many similar examples. I know somene who studied engineering and decided to learn chartered accounting and did that in 2 years record time, faster than people who were preparing for 5 years. And people who were academically similar level and still took 5 years for the same.
Of course, two things happening at the same time does not prove causation alone.