Now obviously these will be more pronounced or perceptible at certain times. At other times it will feel like a plateau, or a gradual increase in breadth or depth of knowledge. Looking back on grad school, I see the papers I wrote were very smart. I won't criticize them at all. I became an established scholar at a young age, so I was doing something right.
Now, however, I am feeling my work getting even better, with a deeper knowledge and engagement with the subject matter. When I look at other people's work, I often notice that it does not have the qualities that I most value in my own work, but I respect what they are doing if is good enough. If I held everyone to my standard it would be lonely and frustrating to be in the field at all. When I do a tenure or full professor case, I just happily embrace the merits of the person. I've decided not to do any except in the cases where I can be 100% positive.
I am not known for humility, but it comes through in a kind of methodological principle that states that there is always more that I don't know than what I do. So learning something new that I should have known before reminds me that there are other things I will learn tomorrow that I should have learned yesterday or ten years ago.