Sponge Mentality: What is it? and…5 Reasons it is an Important Trait to Develop


By: Kyle Colley

Our minds are like sponges and knowledge is the water that it absorbs… (let me repeat myself) our minds are like sponges!

The sponge mentality is an idea that I always preach and often observe first hand when around my two-year old cousin. No matter who is talking, my little cousin pays very close attention and tries his best to repeat certain words that are being said.  

As humans, if we focus on what is being said to the extend that my little cousin does, we will realize that there is gold (knowledge) to be extracted from everybody we come in contact with.

With that said, allow me the opportunity to express to you, five reasons that the sponge mentality is an important trait to develop.

  1. Knowledge is in Abundance; Develop a Thirst

One thing you can never have enough of and never will have enough of is knowledge. Knowledge is infinite and a thirst for it will aid your sponge tremendously. You will start to notice that the more knowledge you obtain, the more you realize you do not know and that will ultimately spark your thirst for more. In the great words of Socrates, “ To know, is to know you know nothing. That is the meaning of true knowledge.” Be aware that there is knowledge all around you waiting to be seized. 

What you seek is seeking you” – Rumi

2) Everyone Knows Something You Don’t

The first thing you need to do is quickly develop the mindset that everyone knows something that you do not. After you realize that, your job is to abstract whatever useful (keyword; see step 5) knowledge that can benefit you. One time a homeless man told me to never stop reading and it always stuck with me because it taught me humility and honesty.

Always look for the underlying message within people’s conversations as well, it might just hold the new discovery that could possibly change the way you live life.

3) It Raises Your Curiosity Level

Once you begin developing the sponge mentality, you will instantly become more interested in the people and things around you. Forget the old adage, “curiosity killed the cat,” (for one cats have nine lives)! Keep in mind that curiosity helped Malcolm X, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Benjamin E. Mays excel and they were always looking for the next book to read. By allowing this sponge mentality to evolve, you will have an open mind to new ideas and people, and that will spark your curiosity.

4) Makes You a Better Listener

Listening and the sponge mentality go hand in hand. By opening your ears and tuning into what people are saying you might learn something that will increase your knowledge. Listening is always an important characterize to have, however, it is one that takes time and agency to improve.

I suggest that you find what you are interested in, and when someone talks about it you pay a little extra attention to it. As you do this, your curiosity level will not only increase, but also your ability to listen, comprehend and analyze information as well.

5) Helps Decipher Good Ideas From Bad Ideas

In the prominent words of Thomas Huxley, “try to learn something about everything and everything about something,” and I would add, be methodical about how you acquire your information. You have to become aware of who is speaking and their status.

For example if you are interested in starting a business it would make more sense to listen to audios and to read books by Jeff Bezos of Amazon than your friend that is currently in his first year of his own startup.

Moreover, start with the people at the top of your niche and see what knowledge you can learn from them, then taper down accordingly. 

Proverbs: Knowledge is in abundances, become sponge-like.

Kyle Colley is a sophomore political science major from Denver, Colorado who attends Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Editors: Kristopher Colley and Janet Colley


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