It tends to be the result of dedication, persistence, and insistence.
Dedication is comfortable with the long game. It realises that long hours over long periods may be required without much in the way of credit or acknowledgement. It remains singular in its pursuit not getting distracted by more appealing uses of time.
Persistence is unrelenting in the face of adversity. When confronted with failure it puts its head down and works even harder. In uncertainty, it stays true to the intended course, even when it becomes unpopular or loses support.
Insistence does not compromise. It does not lower the benchmark to make others more comfortable. It refuses to accept anything less than the very best. It is not romanced by the idea of ‘utility’ but subscribes to the very best we are able to make it. Not when we feel like it, but every single time.
Excellence is not an end destination. It is the culmination of very specific traits developed and refined over a lifetime.