Things I learned along the way..
Salt is the most important ingredient in a kitchen. Under seasoned food, no matter how fancy, or painstakingly prepared, is underwhelming. It has been the downfall of at least half a dozen chefs on various seasons of "Top Chef". Season your food well.
You need only one really great knife as opposed to a block full of bad ones. Invest in a good knife. Don't go overboard! You can get one under $30.
Some foods require absolute perfect timing to cook. Steaming vegetables, boiling pasta or rice and so on. Don not rely on yourself to remember. Employ a timer.
If you are a newbie to cooking, the most important of all is to not be intimidated and have a sense of humor about it! The worst that can happen if a recipe falls apart is you call your favorite restaurant for a reservation. Either way you end up having a good time :)