To echo Tom, there is a lot to be said for challenging metal working projects. And all sorts of other projects. Sitting and thinking doesn’t nearly push the envelope of skills like getting elbows deep into a project (that you aren’t positive you can finish)…
I expect it takes me about 3 different tries to get things about right the first time. I also have learned that to get good results the first time takes about 3 times more effort than a pro would put in.
The bottom line in all pursuits is don’t settle for poor results. There are piles of people who do, and then pay the consequences over and over. The typical weekend warrior, home handyman. Who do a half competent job of wiring in their homes, etc, etc.!
It is amazing the skills a person can build applying brains and physical abilities. Even just welding on a project, from the start to the finish, it gets easier, and better. Most everything is about working smart, not hard, and keeping a critical eye for the acceptable results.