Anybody will tell you that both are important. But the question which one is more important. Often people say its all about talent and if not its then about passion and hardwork. Loving the game, engrossing yourself in it is very important but only if your first step is right. The first step is technique ie how you approach the game. Trust me, you are not going very far if you haven't got your basics right. At each and every thing that I've experienced in life, I have learnt you conquer ultimately only if your base is strong. Yes its a cliche but would still stress and emphasize the point here. When I was preparing my maths used to be very strong, it came naturally and so was quite confident about it. Physics and chemistry were weak for starters. I am sure most IITians would have strengths and weakness between the three. So even though ultimately I cleared JEE I was still a failure preparing for it a lot of times. There were instances when I got single digit marks out of 60. So even though I could have afforded to be confident about my maths I had to figure out to crack the other two. I never did. Actually I just managed them. Still the tougher question would make me uncomfortable. So there was physics, in which I felt the need to master the concepts well before I could attack the questions there was chemistry where I did not know how to do it. Believe me all through out my preparation I went back to reading those basics in both the subjects again and again just to ensure that they were ingrained in my head. For chemistry, I got a shock in screening when I was able to attempt something like 50% of questions properly and focused only on it post screening till mains. Smartwork was to understand how the time allocation was required and where. When you are good at something you can beat the rest anyways. Be smart at picking what to do and how to do which might help save you a lot of time and focus much better. Don't get bogged down if you are some weak in areas as they will be there. Just plan it out well. So its about hard work but most successes are achieved by smartly working hard.