7 Lessons on Life and Learning by Nikola Tesla

Until a few years ago, the name Nikola Tesla was barely known, but as the internet grew so too did the story of this Serbian-born American scientist who was born in 1856.

Tesla was a scientist, physicist, mechanical engineer and electric engineer, but what describes him most accurately is that he was a futurist.

Even in the 1930’s he had ideas that were way ahead of his times. He was also nicknamed the mad scientist, as so many of his experiments were often unfathomable by his peers. He even predicted the internet, in 1893 where he said that the world will have wireless communication and will turn into one giant brain. That is the state of our world wide web as we know it today.

It is claimed that he had an eidetic memory, and was extremely creative. His main works in electricity and experimentation also gave us the AC current, the tesla coil that was used in most radios and what we today know as x-rays.

Even though IQ tests were not conducted during his time, Tesla has been estimated to have an IQ of 200.
Tesla died in 1943, but not before he left great advances in electrical technology as well as some great life lessons for us all.

Don’t give too much attention to your competition
“I don’t care that they stole my idea. I care that they don’t have any of their own”

A lot of works of Nikola Tesla were allegedly stolen but it never wavered him off course. For Tesla, it was about changing the world. Too often, we get caught up in what others may take from us, but that kind of fear can actually hinder your growth. So don’t worry about the credit. Eventually everyone finds out where a great idea came from. So keep creating.

Introspection is Key
“From childhood I was compelled to concentrate attention upon myself. This caused me much suffering, but to my present view, it was a blessing in disguise for it has taught me to appreciate the inestimable value of introspection in the preservation of life, as well as a means of achievement”

When something goes wrong, we must always have the ability to introspect and determine what we can do differently next time to succeed. Often times, people hesitate to take a good honest look at themselves, without resorting to negative self-talk. Introspection on the other hand, is an unbiased look at your actions, words and behaviour and assessing them without the presence of emotion. Be kind but be honest to yourself. Look to yourself and determine your shortcomings and your strengths. Give yourself good advice.

Be okay with being ahead of your times
“Let the future tell the truth, and evaluate each one according to his work and accomplishments. The present is theirs; the future, for which I have really worked, is mine”

You may have been ridiculed, questioned and judged on many of your actions or beliefs, but do not be affected by the opinions of others as they simply may not be able to understand them yet. Many great minds, including Tesla, have been ridiculed, accused, ostracized and misunderstood by simple minds. The truth is that Tesla was so ahead of his times, that we are just beginning to understand his real works. So if your ideas are too radical or modern, still pursue them, because the people of the future will thank you.

Keep reading and learning
“Of all things, I liked books best.”

Reading is still one of the best way to learn new things. There is a treasure chest of both online and offline reading that is available to us all, a lot of times for free, compared to the times of Tesla. Still he learned and read as much as he could. One can argue that there are many different forms of learning and that is true. But reading allows you to use your imagination in a way that you can’t experience while watching a video or listening to an audio. We are in complete control of reading, pausing to contemplate, highlighting things we want to remember, and putting down our own ideas and thoughts on paper. That is a luxury that technology can still not replace.

Have patience and persevere
“The scientific man does not aim at an immediate result. He does not expect that his advanced ideas will be readily taken up. His work is like that of the planter—for the future. His duty is to lay the foundation for those who are to come, and point the way.”

The worst enemy of success is impatience. The amount of times people have given up right before they were to achieve success is astounding. We all want results and we want results fast. But the real fruits of our labour will show up if we have patience and keep doing what we need to do. In this case, let your goal not be the only thing that drives you but also the journey to your goal. Make the process enjoyable. In addition, you must be open to the fact that the times that you live in may only allow you to achieve a certain amount. You must be accepting of the fact that you can build the basic blocks and then wait for the right time for the magic to happen.

Keep creating
“Invention is the most important product of man’s creative brain. The ultimate purpose is the complete mastery of mind over the material world, the harnessing of human nature to human needs.”

The brain shows the most activity when it is in the process of creation. Do not be afraid to take up a new art form where your imagination is your only limit. Even if your creation exercises do not contribute at all to your ambitions, the act of creation itself will develop your brain in many ways, that can further help in achieving your goals and dreams. Keep creating!

Money isn’t everything!
“Money does not represent such a value as men have placed upon it. All my money has been invested into experiments with which I have made new discoveries enabling mankind to have a little easier life.”

The world seems to revolve around money. Success seems to be defined in terms of money. Status is defined in terms of money. But according to possibly the greatest scientist that lived, money is just a tool to make your and others’ lives better and is not a decider of value or success. Set your own bars of success, and accomplishment. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.