This is the nature of mastery: the better we get, the better we’re able to get. To practice something intensely, we have to be passionate about it. To be passionate about something, we need to have some level of competence or mastery. This means that we always start out as beginners in a catch-22 situation. It’s hard to be motivated to apply ourselves fully when we’re so incompetent, but we can’t get competent and benefit from natural, intrinsic motivation, until we have developed some level of competence.
That’s what I mean when I say the hardest lessons take years to internalize. I wasn’t thinking at that level. I was too emotional about the project I’d just spent so much time and effort on. I couldn’t be bothered to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. What I learned from Steve later — much later, after I had cooled down — was to fight the right battles. Continuing to fight a battle after the war has already been lost is an exercise in futility.