Two key messages here that are both crucial: you have to deliberately try things to make it perfect, like Steve Martin for banjo; and you have to give up something in order to get the a few things that you truly care.
The second point is very important for entrepreneurs as they have to learn to ignore things to get something done.
I would add another point: each person has a “fate tendency” for lacking better terms. That is, some have to try very hard, very deliberately, while others can easily achieve things without even being highly conscious or deliberate. In fact, anyone who is practicing deliberate trying or diligence as this blog is talking about, tends to have a fate of requiring diligence. I myself is of this latter type: anything I want, I really have to try very hard to get it.
This fate tendency is a mixture of personality and environment plus luck.
Learning banjo is not easy, especially at a time and place 1960′s California where banjo lessons were not a possibility. Martin’s technique was to take Earl Scruggs records and slow them down from 33 RPM to 16 RPM. He would then tune down the banjo to match the slower speed and start picking out the notes, painstakingly, one by one.
In 2009, Martin released his first album, “The Crow.” It won a Grammy. (Last month he was nominated for his second Grammy.)
One of the things that has always impressed me about Steve Martin is his diligence. In his memoir, Born Standing Up, he emphasizes this theme — defining diligence not just in terms of persistence, but also in the ability to ignore unrelated pursuits.