It's a trap. For a kid, probably good. For an artist, like death. For one thing, in LA, everyone tells you you're a genius, just in case you accidentally end up being the next big thing and want to hire a lot of yes-men to be around you. You're always "brilliant," everyone "loves" everything you do. Just in case showing that love will help them financially later. So we have this big community of mutual admirers with no critical point of reference, and thus, all the junk that is made.
...My old friend said to me recently, "You have to shoot for perfection, because you probably won't make it, but maybe you'll at least be good." This is very wise I think. Just shooting for "good," or worse, "better than this specific awful movie," leads to mediocrity. I'm not talking about spending more money. Most people do their really great work in a private, low-tech way, then everyone tells them they're great, they start to believe their own hype, and thus, all the junk that is made (with lots of money).
...It's hard because you'd like to trust people who are saying nice things about your art. But in a way you can't give it too much weight, because they might be wrong, or just being nice. The important thing is not to take a compliment to mean "This is great; don't change it," because then you don't want to improve or learn anything. After all, you can't believe everyone who tells you your art sucks, right? They are often wrong. So it's only logical that the people who praise you are mistaken in about the same proportion.
...I mean, I'm not sure about the shooting for perfection thing, because that drives you insane as well. But I suppose it's all right to shoot for better than you think you can be.