Raise your standards as high as you can live with, avoid wasting your time on routine problems, and always try to work as closely as possible at the boundary of your abilities. Do this because it is the only way of discovering how that boundary should be moved forward.
Don’t strive for recognition (in whatever form): recognition should not be your goal, but a symptom that your work has been worthwhile.
Striving for perfection is ultimately the only justification for the academic enterprise; if you don’t feel comfortable with this goal –e.g. because you think it too presumptuous–, stay out!
Prof.dr. Edsger W. Dijkstra