Genes to play a much bigger role than lifestyle, with self-control particularly etched into our DNA. Our genes also largely determine how determined and persistent we are. This is important in terms of success, as someone who refuses to give up is more likely to achieve their dreams than someone who throws in the towel.
Still, there are many deniers out there, especially genetically elite meritocrats:
To suggest that “success” is genetically determined assumes that “success” can somehow be defined outside of our cultural frames. While I feel that my American Studies PhD should constitute a sign of “success,” others would define “success” more narrowly – say, making a lot of money as a CEO or corporate lawyer. Now, I’ll certainly be the first to argue that one’s success in life isn’t all about hard work and determination. It’s also about socially defined privileges. ... Perhaps I just don’t want to admit that my accomplishments were hard-wired into my biology. But more likely, the “success gene” simply represents another gene of the week.
David Brooks proclaims it the Age of Innocence, but I would call it the Age of Denial. We've seen the collapse of No Child Left Behind, but many commentators continue to bury their head in the sand. The most sinister are meritocrats like David Frum who fear their position atop society is at risk, and will do anything to defend the status quo.