It can be tempting to blame failure on a lack of willpower or a scarcity of talent, and to attribute success to hard work, effort, and grit. To be sure, those things matter. What is interesting, however, is that if you examine how human behavior has been shaped over time, you discover that motivation (and even talent) is often overvalued. In many cases, the environment matters more. Let me share an example that surprised me when I first learned of it.
In the summer of 2010, Rachelle Friedman was preparing for one of the best periods of her life. She was recently engaged, surrounded by her best friends, and enjoying her bachelorette party.