Don’t Change Your Sponge, Change How You Use It

Jessica Wyce
I was blessed to have such a colourful upbringing. I could be the typical conservative writer and tell you all my specific generic details about myself, but I'm not that kind of person or author. Instead I will say that coming from a mixed religious and cultured family, moving around a lot as a child, living in pretty poor income areas of Montreal (or the "ghetto" as some would call it), and going through some pretty traumatic events in both childhood and adulthood has definitely shaped who I am today. I was born in a small city of Charlesbourg, just outside of Quebec city. Up to the age of 4 years old, I didn't speak a word of English. My mother-tongue was French. However, that all changed thanks to my father. We moved to Montreal in hopes that my father would get away from the small mentality that he felt from being away from England, to hopefully find work in his field, and that my sister and I would learn English. Well, two out of three wasn't bad. Coming from a shy Catholic French-Canadian mother and an extroverted Jewish British father really did have a strong impact on my sister and I, especially in our childhood. We went through lots of crap growing-up, too much to write at the moment. My mum tells me I should write a book. So guess what? I'm working on it. Growing-up I had two things that saved my skinny arse: classical ballet and writing. I started dancing not long after we moved to Montreal. The discipline, the escape it created for me to forget outside stresses, and the art of understanding how I can express myself without words really helped me stay focused during those rough times. The writing came a bit later, around 10 years old if I remember right. All thanks to my grade 5 teacher, who one day asked us to keep a daily journal of our Christmas holiday. I never stopped writing since. Writing and dancing saved my life during my high school years, it kept me sane in college, and made me realise my passion for both arts by the time I reached university. Now, being a mum of an autistic boy I understand why I was given all these experiences and gifts: to help him and other children grow and discover their own passions.
Personal Development

Jan 31,2018

You know that old saying, “Out with the old, in with the new?” Well, we’re going to use that metaphor literally today. I’d like you to go to your kitchen or bathroom or wherever you last used a sponge to clean something. Take a really good look at that sponge. Pretty yucky and cruddy I imagine? It’s been through the ringer and back, been through some rough scrapes, probably thinning out in some spots and small bits falling off in the corners of it, looking a little worse for wear right? This unfiltered, wilted, overly-used sponge is exactly how your brain is when you have the wrong mindset. Somewhere along the way, we’ve forgotten what to ignore and what to take in. The lines have blurred and there isn’t any sense to what’s right or wrong anymore, and that’s when our mindset becomes unhealthy.

So how do we change that mindset, get those filters working again so we do know when to keep stuff in or throw it out?  Here’s an exercise that I think will give you a very clear and easy way to understand how to train our brain to use our filters properly by using a sponge and a bowl of water.

For this easy exercise you’ll need another person with you. You’ll each need a new sponge and one bowl of water between you. You should be facing one another with the bowl placed between you. When you’re ready, one of you will say something positive about the other person. The other person will in turn dip their sponge in the water briefly. Then that person will do the same for the other person, and they too will dip their sponge in the water. Then one person will say something negative to the other person. What do you think they should do at this point with their sponge? Retain the sponge’s water, take more water in thinking this is a good or useful information? Or should they squeeze the water out, regarding this input as not useful? If you guessed the last point then you are correct! Only dip your sponge or absorb positive or useful information people give you, and always squeeze out the negative messages that are given to you – no matter who tells it to you (that could even be from your own brain by the way)!!

If you practice this exercise often enough, you’ll slowly start realizing your mindset changing for the better. You’ll understand what real information is versus fake fluff, and that in the end YOU are the only one in power or in charge of keeping or throwing information/messages in your mind. It may sound like a silly exercise, but it simply demonstrates how the way our brain sometimes malfunctions because we don’t filter properly what people say to us. It’s not always about throwing things out because it may seem broken, it may just need a tune-up instead. So don’t change your sponge yet, try changing how you use it and see how much positive your mindset becomes! And besides, it’s a lot of fun too! I would even encourage you to try this exercise with your kids, it’s a great way to see how in-tune they are with their mindset and what is a positive message vs a negative one. Most of all, have a great time and enjoy everyone!

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