So I know we all imagine that the Marauders were 4 boys just getting in trouble and doing pranks but I do believe they were so much more than that. They were visionaries trying to explore the wizarding world by their own, discovering unknown spells and magic. The marauders’ map and becoming animagus was one of the things they did in such young age, but what if there was so many more accomplishments but no one else knows about it because the only people didn’t live long enough to tell the story - or solemnly swore not to tell. So yeah, I think during 7 years at Hogwarts they were trying to do something great, maybe even change de wizarding world (we have to dream big). they were always coming up with amazing and impossible ideas so I think James was the one who pushed them to try. Maybe that’s why people tell Harry how powerful and clever that boy was.
And maybe getting in trouble was just the consequence of trying to do what they wanted, something big, something great. But the war came and interrupted their dreams and I’m sad again