Category: work

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“Looking at all this busy world about us, on all this complex mass as it daily throbs and moves, what is it but an immense clock-work driven by a spring?  In the morning, when we rise, we cannot fail to note that all the objects about us are manufactured by machinery: the water we use is lifted by steam-power; the trains bring our breakfast from distant localities; the elevators in our dwelling and our office building, the cars that carry us there, are all driven by power; in all our daily errands, and in our very life-pursuit, we depend upon it; all the objects we see tell us of it; and when we return to our machine-made dwelling at night, lest we should forget it, all the material comforts of our home, our cheering stove and lamp, remind us of how much we depend on power. And when there is an accidental stoppage of the machinery, when the city is snowbound, or the life sustaining movement otherwise temporarily arrested, we are affrighted to realize how impossible it would be for us to live the life we live without motive power. Motive power means work. To increase the force accelerating human movement means, therefore, to perform more work.”

-Nikola Tesla

“The Problem of Increasing Human Energy.” Century Illustrated Magazine, June, 1900.

“One of the most fundamental and also one of the saddest facts in human life is well brought out in a French proverb which, freely translated, means:

‘If Youth had the knowledge and Old Age the strength of doing.’

Our condition of body and mind in old age is merely a certificate of how we have spent our youth. The secret of my own strength and vitality today is that in my youth I led what you might call a virtuous life.

"I have never dissipated. When I was a young man I understood well the significance of that old French proverb, although I doubt that I had even heard it then. But I seemed to have a clear understanding while still young that I must control my passions and appetites if I wanted to make some of my dreams come true.

"So with this in view, quite early in life I set about disciplining myself, planning out a program of living for what I considered the sane and worthwhile life.

"Since I love my work above all things, it is only natural that I should wish to continue it until I die. I want no vacation–no surcease from my labors. If people would select a life work compatible with their temperaments, the sum total of happiness would be immeasurably increased in the world.

"Many are saddened and depressed by the brevity of life. ‘What is the use of attempting to accomplish anything?’ they say. ‘Life is so short. We may never live to see the completion of the task.’ Well, people could prolong their lives considerably if they would but make the effort. Human beings do so many things that pave the way to an early grave.

"First of all, we eat too much, but this we have all heard said often before. And we eat the wrong kinds of foods and drink the wrong kind of liquids. Most of the harm is done by overeating and underexercising, which bring about toxic conditions in the body and make it impossible for the system to throw off the accumulated poisons.

"My regime for the good life and my diet? Well, for one thing, I drink plenty of milk and water.

"Why overburden the bodies that serve us? I eat but two meals a day, and I avoid all acid-producing foods. Almost everybody eats too many peas and beans and other foods containing uric acid and other poisons. I partake liberally of fresh vegetables, fish or meat sparingly, and rarely. Fish is reputed as fine brain food, but has a very strong acid reaction, as it contains a great deal of phosphorus. Acidity is by far the worst enemy to fight off in old age.

"Potatoes are splendid, and should be eaten at least once a day. They contain valuable mineral salts and are neutralizing.

"I believe in plenty of exercise. I walk eight or ten miles every day, and never take a cab or other conveyance when I have the time to use legpower. I also exercise in my bath daily, for I think this is of great importance. I take a warm bath, followed by a prolonged cold shower.

"Sleep? I scarcely ever sleep. I come of a long-lived family, but it is noted for its poor sleepers. I expect to match the records of my ancestors and live to be at least 100.

"My sleeplessness does not worry me. Sometimes I doze for an hour or so. Occasionally, however, once in a few months, I may sleep for four or five hours. Then I awaken virtually charged with energy, like a battery. Nothing can stop me after such a night. I feel great strength then. There is no doubt about it but that sleep is a restorer, a vitalizer, that it increases energy. But on the other hand, I do not think it is essential to one’s well-being, particularly if one is habitually a poor sleeper.

"Today, at 77, as a result of well-regulated life, sleeplessness notwithstanding, I have an excellent certificate of health. I never felt better in my life. I am energetic, strong, in full possession of all my mental faculties. In my prime I did not possess the energy I have today. And what is more, in solving my problems I use but a small part of the energy I possess, for, I have learned how to conserve it. Because of my experience and knowledge gained through the years, my tasks are much lighter. Contrary to general belief, work comes easier for older people if they are in good health, because they have learned through years of practice how to arrive at a given place by the shortest path.”

—Nikola Tesla

“Tremendous New Power Soon To Be Released.” By Carol Bird. Charleston Daily Mail, Charleston, West Virginia, Page 40. September 10, 1933.

“It is an embarrassment to me that my work has attracted much public attention, not only because I believe that an earnest man who loves science more than all else should let his work speak for him, if it will, but because I am afraid that some of the scientists, whose friendship I value very much, suspect me of encouraging newspaper notoriety.”

–Nikola Tesla

A Man of the Future.” The Wichita Daily Eagle. Wichita, Kansas, October 23, 1894.