Don’t Assume Innocence Is an Obstacle to Wisdom

A lot of young people toss their youthful optimism, playfulness, and their moral idealism out the window at a certain age because they believe that “wisdom” requires it.

Now it’s true that in many cases wisdom requires us to surrender our naive optimisms. We have to accept, for example, that victories require constant work – you can’t just win once and coast on greatness.

But preemptively giving up on the innocence of youth because people told you to do it? This is assuming a lot about the nature of wisdom (which is not a wise thing to do).

Maybe we should test and see instead. A lot of what I’m doing when I’m trolling the world with positivity is that testing. I’m pushing the boundaries of innocence and wisdom to see how far innocence can be taken and to see where the two can peacefully co-exist.

Once innocence is gone, it usually doesn’t come back. Find out how much of it you actually need to give up to live with wisdom. Keep as much of the rest as you can.

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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