22 of the Most Important Things I’ve Learned in 22 Years

I’ve received and experienced a lot of good advice in 22 years of life. This isn’t everything, but it’s a good look at some of the lessons that have been important for me in getting to where I am today.

1. Telling the truth is the hardest and best thing you will ever do.

2. People are better off free. You are already completely free. Live like it.

3. Everyone is creative. Everyone is interesting.

4. Evil is impotent. The good is rooted in reality, and reality always wins.

5. Those hero stories are about you, too. Everyone has the potential to be heroic.

6. You are responsible for everything that happens to you.

7. Unfair blame is the price for getting things done. Do not expect credit. Do not bother defending yourself. Just get things done.

8. Don’t worry about being well-rounded. You don’t know what you need to be yet. Trust your curiosity to round you out for the right time and the right purpose.

9. Redemption is built into the structure of reality, and it’s always there for people who look for it in good faith. When you fail, go fail again. When you’re wrong, be wrong boldly.

10.Your reward for one challenge will be another challenge.

11. If you want to appreciate life more, work harder.

12. “Always go first” – take on the first risk, make the first engagement, ask the first question. Go alone if you must. People will follow.

13. Failure that comes from trying is not as bad as failure from a lack of trying.

14. “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right…. think on these things” 

15. Both sides are wrong. Both sides have something important to say. And most dichotomies are false.

16. Spend less time voicing opinions and more time creating.

17. Choose impact over position.

18. Create value wherever you go. Life is made of trade, and trade is made of value.

19. Do what makes you come alive. Do it and don’t give a damn about anyone else.

20. People who take life seriously have more fun.

21. If you act with courage, truth, and justice, all things work together for good.

22. Love is the most powerful creative force in the world. It will make you better. It will make your life better. And it will make the world better.

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James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, intellectual explorer, and perpetual apprentice. He opted out of college to join the Praxis startup apprenticeship program and currently manages marketing and communications at bitcoin payment technology company BitPay. He writes daily at jameswalpole.com.