At first glance, SpongeBob SquarePants looks like a kid’s show. But au contraire! There are many hidden nuggets of wisdom meant for adults. Here are some surprising life lessons I learned from the iconic series:
1. Take care of your pets
When Gary brings home a stray snail, Spongebob thinks they’re just playing but Patrick isn’t so sure. The next day, it looks like they were more than just ‘friends’ because SpongeBob and the cute little snail turned into 30 babies overnight.
Now SpongeBob’s pineapple house is overrun with total chaos and mayhem. SpongeBob learns this lesson the hard way, but get your pets spayed or neutered and give them a stable, loving home.
Pets are a lot of work but they give us so much in return. They might shed nonstop and wake us up with loud barks and meows, but these loyal companions also lower our blood pressure with constant cuddles and cuteness.
2. Allow yourself to be creative
In the episode Artist Unknown, SpongeBob realizes he loves painting and decides to pursue the creative path of le artiste! But when the critics crash his party, he goes into a deep depression. Squidward steps up and appoints himself as his mentor, laying down all the rules of art and basically crushing Spongebob’s creative spirit.
When he finally has a creative breakthrough, Squidward tries to take all the credit. The lesson here is simple: Creativity is already flowing within you, and if you can’t connect with this powerful energy, you’re blocked by self-doubt, critics, or the pressures of society.
Of course, criticism is inevitable when you put yourself out there, but if you have the tender heart of Spongebob, it can be hard to take.
But it’s also a necessary part of the creative process because it can open your eyes to something you couldn’t see before. Remember: There’s a difference between a blatant hater and someone who sees your potential and only wants your work to be better.
3. Money isn’t everything
Always obsessed with making profits, Mr. Krabs learns this lesson when he sells out the Krusty Krab to a major corporation. In return, he gets a huge chunk of money, but they ditch the secret formula to cut costs and the legendary Krabby Patties are now made with sand and then injected with artificial flavoring.
Even worse, the residents of Bikini Bottom become morbidly obese because of the unhealthy ingredients. When he realizes the truth, Mr. Krabs suddenly doesn’t care about the money, a first for this relentless mercenary. He quickly realizes that the quality of his Krabby Patties and the secret formula is more important than piles of cash.
4. Give from the heart
If you’re like SpongeBob and have nice thoughts most of the time, you probably give the best gifts. Kind, thoughtful people know what others truly want, like the episode where Squidward, who rarely gets excited about anything, is overjoyed when SpongeBob gives him the gift of ripped, glistening abs.
For all the Mr. Krabs out there, giving from the heart also gives you social capital, a precious commodity you may need to cash in one day.
5. Don’t overeat
You might be wondering how a show about a fast-food joint could possibly have a message about healthy eating.
Hamburgers aren’t the healthiest choice of food, but a cartoon about a restaurant that only serves salads and plates of broccoli isn’t going to appeal to most kids. Of course, the quality of food is important, but according to nutritionists, the quantity is just as crucial to healthy eating.
In one episode, Squidward learns a difficult lesson in quantity control when he eats thousands of carbs and becomes obese overnight. But in the magical world of cartoons, he goes on a diet and quickly transforms back to his scrawny, 8-tentacled body.
6. Enjoy your alone time
Loneliness doesn’t just feel crappy, but according to researchers, chronic loneliness is just as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
But being alone doesn’t necessarily have to result in feeling lonely, especially with a healthy perspective.
Isolation is a gift. Everything else is just a test of your endurance. You will be alone with the gods. Your nights will flame with fire .
— Charles Bukowski
The poet and writer Charles Bukowski said it brilliantly and so did SpongeBob with the ultimate introvert’s anthem:
“I know of a place/where you never get harmed/a magical place/with magical charms/indoor, outdoor…” And then he sits down and stares at his computer.
Reading books, playing instruments, listening to music, playing with your pets…Besides the Internet, there are many ways to feel happy and enrich the soul when you’re alone.
7. Don’t overthink
Exessive rumination is a major problem when it comes to being happy. So give yourself a break and don’t overanalyze like SpongeBob.
SpongeBob: I don’t get it. I made my house a mess, which was making it clean, which made Squidward clean my yard, But that means he’s really messing it up.
But the opposite of clean is filth, which means filth is clean, that means Squidward is really making my yard a wreck, But normally I wreck my own yard which means, Squidward is being the opposite of Squidward, which means he’s SpongeBob!
8. Be assertive
When Plankton isn’t scheming and plotting to destroy Bikini Bottom and steal the secret formula for Krabby Patties, he still has time to give Spongebob some valuable advice. In the episode Walking Small from Season 1, an adult fish sits on SpongeBob, prompting Plankton to give him his first of many lessons in being assertive:
Plankton: No, no. Be assertive!
Misunderstanding Plankton’s advice, Spongebob puts his fingers in the guy’s pockets.
Plankton: Not in-sertive. SpongeBob, you missed your chance! You’ve got to be aggressive to get the things you want! You’re too soft!
SpongeBob: But I’m a spon —
Plankton: Don’t say it!