The Extraordinary Life: Nikola Tesla

1646 Words 7 Pages
Nikola Tesla was an innovative intellectual of the Gilded Age whose ideas were far ahead of his time. The modern world would be nothing like it is today without Tesla’s insights. He revolutionized the scientific community and the world’s knowledge of electric current, but there were plenty of other interesting facets of his life and career. He was much more than an engineer, and unfortunately, many of his peers underestimated him on account of his quirkiness and battle with mental illness.
Tesla was born in Croatia in 1856. Even the day of his birth foreshadowed the greatness that would result from his life. Tesla was born during a strong storm and the midwife declared “he will be a child of the storm,” (“The Extraordinary Life”). From a very
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He faced many hardships throughout his life, but he began his struggle with mental illness at 7 years old when he “reported seeing visions,” (“Nikola Tesla”), after his brother’s death. He developed obsessive behavior at an early age along with incredible intelligence. Tesla “could memorize entire books and store logarithmic tables in his brain,” (“Nikola Tesla”), but most of the people around him were more amused than impressed by his quirks. Tesla admired his parents’ innovation and cited them as being the greatest influence on his success. He spent countless hours reading in his father’s library and his mother invented devices including a “mechanical eggbeater,” (“Tesla’s Early Years”), to make their daily lives and responsibilities more efficient. He believed that …show more content…
He indeed suffered mental illness and developed numerous phobias over his lifetime. Some of his fears can be logically attributed to traumatic events in his life like his fear of germs. His near death experience with cholera as a teen traces to the fact that he “practiced very strict hygiene,” (“The Extraordinary Life”). Others, such as his phobia of pearls, have no known explanation. That specific fear crippled him to the point that “he refused to speak to women wearing them,” (“8 Things”). He was known to fixate on his appearance and strictly held the belief that “in order to be successful, one needed to look successful,” (“8 Things), which may go along with his obsession over pearls. He had a strange obsession with pigeons and spent an oddly large portion of his daily life “feeding—and, he claimed, communicating with—the city’s pigeons,” (“Nikola Tesla”), while living in New York. The history books most often portray him as an isolated person who dedicated his entire life to science, but this simply is not the entire story. Surprisingly, he was quite the socialite. In his personal life he was acknowledged as having “a terrific sense of humor,” (“8 Things”). He was good friends with Mark Twain, whom he photographed “in one of the first pictures ever lit by phosphorescent light,” (“Nikola

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