Nothing can substitute for hard work or, even more importantly, caring about one’s subject. Also, and this becomes probably more difficult as one ages and perhaps experiences less energy to be called upon when needed, one wants to try to be just a little bit better today than yesterday or last week, or last year. It’s not one’s peers one needs to think about in terms of improving, it’s simply trying to be a little better than one was or has been. It’s not easy and it’s not in anyway guaranteed to happen. But it’s a goal one needs to pursue. It’s really competing with one’s self and being honest, to know if the work is up to par or maybe not.