What makes a good student? What makes a good athlete? What makes a team better than others perceive it to be?
If you ask any educator the first question, you might get four or five quality answers. The same can be said if you ask five coaches, what makes for a successful team?
However, if you are looking for a one word answer, I would offer the word preparation. Students who prepare make better grades than those who don't. Athletes who prepare put themselves and their teammates in a better position to be successful.
The next time you are looking for that quick fix, realize there isn't one. However, if you are looking for one way to get started, focus more time and effort on preparation!