Amen and totally right!
How they approach problems, but isn't life our one biggest problem? (grin) In my superficial experience, some patterns I've noticed is that great programmers tend to be humble and don't have their ego in their work.
I get the sense that in order to get to great software, you have to iterate through bad software designs. If your ego is tied up on an early bad design, you never become great. So you learn to throw away your best paragraph and move on.