You know why America is the richest country in the world? It's because these people work like maniacs, all the time, constantly. They don't need to be smarter or more efficient than other countries because they just work so much more. More days, more hours, every year, a tiny difference in each individual but with a cumulative, geometric effect that means America must simply produce much more each year than everybody else.
It's hard to understand coming from a European context. It's not a question of "where are you going on holiday this year?", it's "are you taking a holiday this year?". And a holiday is a 4-day weekend, maybe a whole week. The reason they don't have passports isn't because they're not interested in leaving the country, it's because they're too damn busy working to ever get out of the office, far less the state.
This work ethic is what is kicking my ass at the moment. I am producing some of the finest work of my career, but I have gone a solid 10 months without taking a single day of vacation. No wonder I'm at the top of my game, I've been doing almost nothing else. My deadline is in 6 days, and after that I'm pretty sure the camel's back will be broken and I will be unable to achieve anything more for a while.
In short: I need a vacation