Improvement comes from study and practice.
Study is where you are shown concepts and techniques for the first time, and you make efforts to hold them in your mind.
Practice is where you take these concepts and techniques, and attempt to use them in real situations.
Begin an art, and study is invaluable. You cannot practice something of which you have no knowledge. You must find your way to gain this knowledge. Practice will help you hold these concepts and techniques.
Gradually you will do less study and more practice. The concepts are no longer new, and you have done enough practice that you do not need to think back to them constantly.
Once you no longer study, and practice flows without thought, you have passed the beginner stage, and have secured the fundamentals.
Take your art out into the community, and it will be compared to the arts as practiced by others. You will judge the effectiveness of new techniques and concepts.
Practice improves your art, and you develop your own style.
See the techniques and concepts as practiced by others, and make decisions as to whether to modify what you do, and add techniques to your repertoire.
Master an art, and you can converse on it's concepts. You can practice and demonstrate techniques with comparison to other masters, and not be found wanting. You train those who show interest in the art, and can guide their practice. When you practice, you can fall back to focus on a basic technique, or purpose yourself to general improvement.