Category Archives: the sponge factor

The One Quality All Successful People Share

“We forget that if students leave school less curious than when they started, we have failed them.” The Innovator’s Mindset

Having dinner with a principal the other night, who is amazingly brilliant and doing great things at their school, I noticed something about them that really stuck out to me.  An unbelievable amount of curiosity.  Although many would perceive this person as already being successful, this curiosity is the reason they have done well and will continue to do well.  It is not about just knowing, it is about what people do with this knowledge.  Having this “sponge factor” is crucial.

The quality of curiosity is something that I have noticed in all successful people that I have encountered.

What is important to note is that simply having a position is not necessarily what I deem as being successful.  You can be a superintendent, but you might not be any good at it.  It is success at any position. The most successful teachers I have encountered also have this innate curiosity and are constantly striving to get better.  Although they are doing well, they know that the world will continue to change, and to stay successful, you need to constantly ask questions.

As someone who has the privilege to speak at conferences, I try to use any breaks that I have in my day to attend sessions of others.  It is such an amazing experience to learn from other educators all over the world, and I want to take advantage of that time that I have. Even if it is a session on something I “already know”, there is always something I can pick up and learn from them. I just have to be willing to learn. Expertise is not something that simply lasts forever. You have to continually push your knowledge, develop your skill set, and constantly ask questions.  Without this, the expert can become the amateur in the blink of an eye.

We do not need to teach our students to be curious. They are when they walk into school. They constantly ask questions and want to learn. It is essential that if we want them to be successful in whatever they do, we do not only let that fire continue to burn, but school becomes a place where we also fan this flame.

curiosity