Naruto (or, as my dad calls it, Narootoo) is an old Japanese cartoon that first aired 12 years ago in the U.S. I grew up with this show and it’s still a guilty pleasure show today. Every so often I’ll go back and rewatch my favorite fights or get my friends together to play the most recent iteration of the fighting game based on the show. Embarrassingly, there are things I learned from this show that I still hold myself to today. Here are some of the most important things Naruto taught me.

1. Never give up on anyone

One thing Naruto does is never give up on anyone. He believes that there is good in everyone even if they’ve shown no redeeming factors. He has turned many a killer friend and I’m pretty sure he could turn hitler into a good guy if he ever met him. Naruto’s overwhelming confidence and devotion into having no enemies inspired me as a child. No matter how disliked an individual may be I always try to find a redeeming factor. I consider everyone I meet my friend and I like my life that way. No matter how far a friend may be from me or how little we talk I know that they will be there for me if I need them because I will always be there for them. My strength stems from these connections and I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without these friends.

2. Always train harder

When the show ended Naruto was essentially jesus. He could literally do anything he wanted. He brought people back from the dead and killed a god. It was insane. However, things weren’t always that way. Naturo actually used to be the worst Ninja in his village. He never let that stop him and continued to work harder and harder. He never stopped training to be better for himself. He set his goals to be the best ninja in his village and never wavered. In the end he achieved his goal and left me dying to train like he did. I never want a day to go by where I don’t work hard for whatever I want. If I did that I would have never gotten to be an actor and I probably wouldn’t have done so well in high school.

3. You’re never alone

This one was really important for me because I felt like I was going through this life thing totally alone (remember middle school?). Naruto’s parents died when he was born (very long story) and he was left with a monster inside him (a longer story). This left him orphaned and a pariah which is a terrible combination. Naruto could not have been more alone so he acted out everyday for attention. This led to him being scorned by the villagers and he was frequently yelled at for being such a loser. His saving grace was his teachers. When no one else cared for him his teachers rose up and gave him someone to rely on. As he learned to rely on them others came into his life and pretty soon there was no one Naruto couldn’t rely on. I came to realize that even though I thought I was alone I had friends and parents who I could rely on to listen to me. As soon as I figured that out my quality of life improved drastically.