Chess is a game of reasoning. It is also a game of trusting your own reasoning. As we go up the rating, the challenges to your thinking gets tougher and tougher. Your sense of self doubt becomes greater for you are now challenged by more and more superior thinkers.
At some point, if your confidence takes a knock, you implode. You give up. I think you may be able to get up to IM by white knuckling. A combination of psycho tricks and understanding may get you there.
I think the divide happens at the GM level. There you cannot bluff anymore. There you are laid bare. The psycho tricks dont work anymore. You are in the presence of grand masters.
And so the culture we need is one where we can learn to reason and reason at the highest level. Once we use belligerence, intimidation and cheap tricks we have lost the plot. So the first thing is to learn not to be distracted. Stay focussed on the plan, the issue. That is the way to the top.
That is why I say the current culture is not condusive to getting that GM. Most are broken before they can get there. That is the fruit of this culture of fear.
How many games have you played and lost because of self doubt? When you dont trust your own analysis, when your thinking shuts down under the pressure? When you lose courage?
The trick is to improve your ability to reason, to see through the cheap tricks. And finally to have the courage to stand behind your analysis. Then you are on your way to being GM, to being a stronger player. No short cuts.