I once had the privilege of hearing Canadian pianist, Marc-André Hamelin, address some ambitious youngsters. The kids wanted to win prizes at the BC Provincial Festival. As I recall it:
"We think in our early years that we are in a race and see the great block of runners far ahead of us. As we grow in skill, we catch up with the stragglers and then later find ourselves running with a field of good pianists. But as we continue to mature in our music, we find ourselves rather out in front, with fewer people keeping company and it's a bit lonely. There is really no one ahead of you to beat out for a prize. Instead you become valuable as a teacher to the people you tried so hard to surpass."