Do the work
The heights by great men [and women] reached and kept were not obtained by sudden flight. But they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I'm not suggesting that you have to be the best at whatever you choose to do with your life. You can live a wonderfully happy and rewarding life without being the best at what you choose to do, whether that be a tailor, high school basketball coach, parent, owner of an organic food store, being in great shape, or whatever.
However, we get one chance at life. And, if you're the type of person who wants to be the best at what you do, there is no shortcut. You have to "do the work." That includes doing both the physical and the emotional labor. That means working even when you don't feel like it and when you can come up with dozens of reasons to take the day off.
Steven Pressfield in his easy-to-read masterpiece Do The Work says that "Stephen King has confessed that he works every day. Fourth of July, his birthday, Christmas."
If you want to be the best, it comes down to this: "How much time are you willing to spare each day to do the work?"
Your friend in Frederick, Maryland,