What does it take to do something really, really well?
That irritating thing parents say to their kids is quite true: if you want something badly enough, you'll work harder to get it. There's no guarantee of success, but at least you'll gain some satisfaction in knowing you tried your best.
Take knitting. A novice can stay in the garter-stitch scarf mode forever. Never advancing technique to purls and yarnovers, avoiding stranded colors and slanted decreases to create cardigans and totes and socks and lace that are challenging to knit and a joy to finish and wear.
Or school. A' Mock Trial team meets for two hours, twice a week, a schedule that is just demanding enough to balance with school work. The teams he's scrimmaging with practice three hours a day, four days a week, in the months just prior to competition. Will the result be a more polished, confident team at competition, one ready to pick apart the nuances of the opposing counsel's arguments?
Or volunteering. In every situation where I've recruited volunteers, there are a handful of people who do more than just show up. They go "above and beyond," seeing needs and filling them. While they're filling shoeboxes with gifts and personal items for the kids at CHRIS Homes, collecting books for the 100-book library at a school served by Mountain Top, or cleaning one of the Interfaith Outreach apartments for homeless families in transition, some volunteers look around and see what else they can do. Then do it.
Extra effort does not promise success. It isn't always apparent. But extra effort leads to an inner satisfaction that is indescribable. And the best result of all.