This is why I love my job. Tonight, I came across this, in something I'm editing for Berklee:
"No man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring two-pence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it."
Practicing, at its apex, should really about refining our ability to deliver honesty through the poetry of music. It's not about getting better than others; it's about perfecting our communicative art. It's not about learning unique material for its own sake, but rather learning something new when it happens to be the best vehicle for honest expression. It's about polishing our ability to speak the universal.
These sorts of nuggets convince me not to quit my day job.
Now it's REALLY time to go practice.