I was twenty-seven or twenty-eight before anything happened that gave me any assurance that I could make a go of writing. I had done a great deal of writing, but I lacked confidence in my ability to put it to good use.
This sounds simplistic, but it still shocks me how few people really practice this. And it’s a struggle to practice, but it’s this issue of focus. Steve was the most remarkably focused person I’ve ever met in my life.
And the thing with focus is, it’s not this thing you aspire to, or you decide on Monday, ‘You know, I’m going to be focused.’ It is a every minute, ‘Why are we talking about this? This is what we’re working on.’ You can achieve so much when you truly focus.
And one of the things Steve would say — because I think he was concerned that I wasn’t, heh, — he would say, ‘How many things have you said no to?’ And I would have these sacrificial things, because I wanted to be very honest about it, so I said no to this, and no to that, but he knew that I wasn’t vaguely interested in doing those things anyway, so there was no real sacrifice.
What focus means is saying no to something with every bone in your body think is a phenomenal idea, and you wake up thinking about it, but you end up saying no to it because you’re focusing on something else.
… the third one actually reflects poorly on myself. I was having a conversation with him and I remember asking him why it could have been perceived in his critique of a piece of work he was a little bit too harsh. We’d been putting out heart and soul into this. I said, couldn’t we be a bit more, couldn’t we moderate the things we said?
And he said, ‘Well, why?’
And I said, ‘Because I care about the team.’
And he said this brutally brilliantly insightful thing, what he said was, ‘No Jony, you’re just really vain.’
‘No, you just want people to like you. And I’m surprised at you because I thought you really held the work up as the most important, not how you believed you were perceived by other people.’
And I was terribly cross because I knew he was right.