Don’t Worry; Be Curie-ous

“Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.”
(Marie Curie)


In many ways, the quote above from Marie Curie is a pie-in-the-sky quote. Nothing to be feared? Please.


Coming from Mrs. Radioactivity herself, however, it carries some truth.


Here was a pioneering woman whose mother died when she was 10, and who had to pursue an education in an underground school (because it actually admitted women). All Curie did with this education was to discover and use radium, invent the term “radioactivity,” and become the first woman to win a Nobel prize. (She later went on to win another one in a different field of science!)


Finally, this woman who gave us all the miracle of X-rays, CT scans, and radiation therapy, died from her continual exposure to all of the above. She carried around radioactive isotopes all her life, and to this day, her early papers (even her cookbook!) cannot be handled directly–too much radiation in the very pages themselves.


Madame Curie had plenty to be fearful of throughout her life, but instead she chose to approach it all with the spirit of her very name: curiosity.


Could we approach our own fears the same way? Getting more curious and less worried? Absolutely.


  • You’re afraid your boss is upset with you? Get curious: “Can I get on your calendar this month? I’d love to get your perspective on my performance and goals for this year.”
  • You’re worried your spouse is unhappy? Get curious and ask: “Hey, I’d love to get closer to you this year and I’m not sure how…you have any ideas?”
  • You’re concerned your teenager is hanging with the wrong crowd? Get curious: “Hey, I know you’ve got some new friends…I’d love to meet them. When do you want to have them over to hang out?

Don’t be needy or greedy when you ask; those are the manifestations of fear. Just be curious and caring.


Peace begins with a pause,


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