4 Life Lessons from Marie Curie
“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.” – Marie Curie
I’m obsessed with reading about people who have created amazing things in spite of having a lot of drama and trauma in their lives. People who make incredible things happen even when the circumstances in their lives are far from ideal. This curiosity led me to Marie Curie. Ms.Curie devoted her life to pioneering research at a time when:
1) Society believed and accepted that women were less intelligent than men and had less to contribute
2) A woman’s sole purpose was to keep home and raise a family and;
3) There were no Brene Brown's or work-life balance articles or working-mother blogs to turn to for inspiration and support.
Marie Curie lived her life with purpose. She believed in her work and in herself.
Here are 4 other things we can all learn from Marie Curie:
1. Have faith that there is something to be discovered even if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for.
Marie spent years sifting through discarded uranium in a leaky wooden shed under hazardous conditions to prove the existence of radioactive substances. The lesson is this, if you are curious about something, or believe in something, do the work and have faith that there will be good to come of it.
2. The hard stuff can take you out or it can fuel your spirit. It’s your choice.
Marie Curie had her share of hardships – she lost her mother, sister and father. Her husband (also a brilliant scientist), was killed by a horse-drawn carriage. She suffered from a miscarriage. She was denied a seat at the French Academy of Science because she was a woman. And yes, she had an affair with a married man and was disparately vilified in the press. Of course, she went through a period of grief and depression. But her faith in herself, and commitment to her purpose gave her the courage to keep going and to persevere. You know she won two Nobel Prizes AFTER all this right (and was the first woman to do so!)?
3. Tap into the creativity within you.
This one is for every person who thinks they need an Ivy League degree, or X years of experience or a special certification to be successful. Marie believed that “inside every peasant could be hidden a writer, a painter, a musician, or a scientist.” Don’t waste your gifts waiting for someone else to tell you that you’re good enough.
4. Compete against yourself vs against others.
We live in a hyper-competitive world where we are constantly watching what others are doing and comparing it to what we are doing. Marie told her daughters, “I have given a great deal of time to science because I wanted to, because I love research.” What if we did the work that interested us, kept learning, got better at it every day and were dedicated to pursuing our passions vs focusing on having more instagram followers than whats-her-name? What do you think you could manifest?
If you're interested in reading more about Marie Curie, you can read Marie Curie & Her Daughters by Shelley Emling (the book that inspired this post!)