Buying a Nikon doesn't make you a photographer. It makes you a Nikon owner Author Unknown.
These are true words indeed and any photographer knows this but… Having good gear does make a difference by increasing your chances of consistently having technically better photographs especially under difficult conditions. However, a trap many of us falls into as photographers is that we often over-emphasize the reliance on technology and gear and ultimately end up with more gear than we really need to get the job done. Perhaps, as street photographer Eric Kim points out in his article, “Buy Books, Not Gear” we need to think more about the type of photography we do and tailor our gear purchases more towards only what we need to get the job done which is often different from what we think we need to get the job done. Ken Rockwell also has much to say on this topic and I recommend you take a look at his site to see his thoughts on this topic - I promise you it will be an interesting read.
So it seems we are in a Catch 22. On one hand having the right proper gear is important for at least some of the technical aspects of photography but on the other hand having too much gear will hinder the process of taking pictures because you are wasting time fretting over which camera or lens combination to use when you really should be taking pictures. The solution I think is to be more imaginative, and perhaps less lazy, in how we take pictures and that is where books come in. If the only tool you know is a hammer you tend to see the whole world as a nail but if you expand your toolbox/mind by learning from others, who most likely have had similar problems, you are bound to be able to get away with less gear and probably also create better pictures in the process. For an exercise try putting a prime 50 mm lens on your camera and only use that lens for a couple of months – I guarantee it will change how you shot and it will make you a better photographer as you will need to start relying more on your imagination and less on technical wizardry.