I was once asked, "What does it take to get the Eagle Medal?"
My response was that you don't "get" the Eagle Medal but rather you earn the right to receive the Eagle Scout.
There are 3 things that I believe that are key to earning the Eagle rank:
1. Scout Spirit
3. Leadership within one self and through others
Without Scout Spirit you will never come close in achieving all of the requirements for the top rank in the BSA program. You need to have the drive and proper attitude in completing all of the tasks before you with cheerful service, never complaining through the challenges but to perservere and meet each goal one by one.
Determination is the next ingredient as you need a "pit bull attitude" that will never allow you to give up or give into things that may try to pull you away from the ultimate goal you seek.
Sometimes, friends will try to pull you in another direction away from scouting or you might get the "fumes"...gas fumes and perfume. Or a job may take you away. Or Sports.
It is the determination to find a proper balance to do all of these things so that you can stay on course for the ultimate prize.
Ultimately, you need to show leadership within yourself and prove that you can willing lead others in your quest for the Eagle.
Leadership requires you to plan how to proceed in achieving the goals you set before yourself and leadership requires you to get others to help you towards the Eagle ranks.
It also makes you discover things about yourself that you may never know.
There are 2 kinds of leadership:
1. Those that just take the bull by the the horns and dictate what needs to be done
2. Leading through example
I know many scouts that choose not to be a leader but become one through their actions and examples.
Which is better, I think you need to have a little of both.
Lead by example first and then take the bull by the horn to determine which order tasks need to be done.
The scouts that earn their Eagle early in their career seem to acknowledge that they did all of the most challenging and difficult merit badges first and left the easier one to the end.
Makes sense to me.
The older you get the more things will get you involved so merit badges that take less time to complete makes more sense to do them when you become the busiest.
I received my Eagle in 1976 and I don't have all the answers but I do feel that these 3 things will help you earn you Eagle.