"You pick up certain skills when the truck is running across your back"
Apple CEO Tim Cook says his journey to success hasn’t been an easy one.
In an exclusive interview with Fortune, Cook recounts how he dealt with the negative comments after he succeeded the legendary Steve Jobs in 2011. Though Cook eventually proved skeptics wrong — just check out iPhone 6 sales and Apple’s record-breaking $700 billion valuation last month — it wasn’t a smooth ride, including a public meltdown of the buggy Apple Maps app in 2012.
But as Tim Cook told Fortune, there’s no solution other than to ignore the haters — and then get your act together:
I thought I was reasonable at [blocking out negative comments] before, but I’ve had to become great at it. You pick up certain skills when the truck is running across your back. Maybe this will be something great that I’ll use in other aspects of my life over time.
Cook also described just how intimidating it was at first to be Jobs’ successor:
I have thick skin, but it got thicker. What I learned after Steve passed away, what I had known only at a theoretical level, an academic level maybe, was that he was an incredible heat shield for us, his executive team … He really took any kind of spears that were thrown. He took the praise as well. But to be honest, the intensity was more than I would ever have expected.
Cook was named No. 1 on Fortune‘s “World’s Greatest Leaders” Thursday. Read the rest of Fortune’s profile of Tim Cook here.