I recently read an interesting observation of author Rod Judkins. He wrote that the major difference between successful, innovative people and those who fail is a commitment to self-improvement. The extraordinary amount of time and effort the successful put into developing their work amplifies their abilities.

If someone is more successful than you, chances are they work harder at self-development. Practice is important but it has to be good practice. Bad practice is thoughtlessly repeating something to perfect it. A good practice is putting time into imaginative improvement. When Matisse produced a series of paintings of the same female model he didn’t achieve more and more accuracy: he achieved more and more inventiveness.