In my last couple of posts, I looked at how improvisation and entrepreneurialism are related, because improv helps foster the skills to think on the fly and be open to ideas, and entrepreneurialism runs with those skills to help develop new products and processes from ideas. As with improv, in entrepreneurial learning, an idea has the potential to inspire teams to generate more ideas with yet more possibilities.
In the same way, a girl who is ready to excel has internally driven curiosity. She is interested in exploring the unmarked paths where she might learn something new and useful—or create something new and useful. My goal is to encourage children to develop an inner curiosity that drives learning. I want to cultivate the “freedom of improv.”
A scientific mind is characterized by curiosity. The greatest scientific minds have been ceaselessly curious. Take the case of the brilliant scientist Marie Curie. She was awarded a Nobel Prize in physics (along with her husband Pierre), and became the first woman to be so honored, recognized by the Nobel Committee for her daring and dangerous research on radioactivity. How was a woman in that era—100 years ago—positioned to undertake such groundbreaking research?
Originally, the project that led to her discoveries was tossed aside to her on the belief it wouldn’t lead to much. And in the hands of someone else, it might not have. But Marie Curie wasn’t just someone; she was driven by curiosity and she was determined to understand the universe of radioactive subatomic particles.
Originally, the Nobel Committee intended only to award the prize to Pierre Curie. But one of the committee members, a Swedish mathematician who advocated for women scientists, objected and notified Pierre. This action prompted the Committee to award the well-deserved prize to Marie Curie as well.
After winning the Nobel, Marie Curie, far from hanging up her lab coat, eight years later won a second Nobel Prize—this one in chemistry—becoming the first person to win twice, and the only woman ever to win twice in multiple fields. Marie Curie kept coming up with marvelous questions and discoveries throughout her life. It was pure science, driven by her innate curiosity. Her advice resonates a century later in our celebrity-obsessed culture: “Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.”
I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you work with the girls in your life to keep them curious. Can you recall when a girl showed that extra spark of discovery that resulted from her being allowed to use her curiosity to explore? Thank you for sharing.