By Bianca Smith • February 22, 2018
When we discovered today is World Thinking Day we thought we have to write about it. What fun and so perfectly bookish.
For a little background, World Thinking Day started in 1926, possibly making it one of the first celebration days. Girl Guides and Girl Scouts intended the day to be a global reflection on others in the world and their sisters in the movement, regardless of where they are. In recent years, themes were added. In 2018 the theme is
Let's borrow or share World Thinking Day because celebrating people making a positive impact on the world is always a good thing.
We're not sure if it's possible to count the number of lives saved by Marie Curie's work. She co-discovered radium, giving an effective cancer treatment. She also discovered polonium, designed portable x-ray machines to diagnose soldiers on war fields, and was awarded the Nobel Prize twice. And was the first woman to do it once. If you need any extra inspiration, Marie appears to be an introvert, more comfortable in her lab than in the spotlight. She declined a trip to Stockholm to receive the award, which was co-awarded with her husband. They said they were "too busy with work." She gave the required Nobel laureates lecture two years later in 1905.
Without Ada Lovelace, there's a chance you wouldn't have a device to read this story on. Her impact on the world was to realize that mechanical engines could run sequences, thus creating the first computer program&mdashin work published in 1843. Charles Babbage dismissed many of her ideas, so she added them as footnotes in a paper she was translating for him. Her additions were longer than the original paper.
J.K. Rowling would be a worthy mention for writing her Harry Potter series alone, but the author has done much more. On a personal level, she experienced hardship and suffering through a divorce, being a single parent, and her mother's death from multiple sclerosis. She sat in cafes, making the one coffee she could afford stretch while writing the Harry Potter series that went on to sell more than 400 million copies. She financially supported and spoke out for charities including Comic Relief, One Parent Families, and Multiple Sclerosis Society of Great Britain and then launched her charity: Lumos. Thank you to her for showing us "anything's possible if you've got enough nerve."
Some people impact the world with their sleeves rolled up getting dirty in the trenches. Others, like Ellen, do it in TV studios with audiences in the millions. Ellen started as a stand-up comedian in the 1980s, before being on several television series, having her own talk show, writing four books, and launching a lifestyle brand, production and record companies. While entertaining us, she speaks out on human rights and supporting other people who achieve amazing things, making her success a way to celebrate other people's success. Sure she's made a lot of money in the process but has also been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Currently the Chief Operating Officer of the world's largest social network, Sheryl Sandberg is consistently on lists of the most powerful business women. She has dominated in a male-oriented arena (both tech and business), and launched Lean In, helping other women succeed in business. Because of Sheryl's work now, future business will be very different, with positive impact.
Madeleine was forced to flee her Czechoslovakian home as a young child, moved back after the war, and was granted political asylum in the United States all by the time she was a teen. This strength is amazing, but she studied, worked, and became the first female American Secretary of State in 1997. She continues to make an impact, fighting for social justice globally. Not bad for a now 80-year old retired woman.
How are you celebrating World Thinking Day 2018?