Odd that I came across this quote from Tesla's autobiography by scanning tech news (on Reddit) and stumbling upon the National Governor's Association video of the governor of Nevada's introduction of Elon Musk. Despite having written a lengthy introduction (he said) he simply quoted Nikola Tesla's Autobiography.
"The progressive development of man is vitally dependent on invention. It is the most important product of his creative brain. Its ultimate purpose is the complete mastery of mind over the material world, the harnessing of the forces of nature to human needs. This is the difficult task of the inventor who is often misunderstood and unrewarded. But he finds ample compensation in the pleasing exercises of his powers and in the knowledge of being one of that exceptionally privileged class without whom the race would have long ago perished in the bitter struggle against pitiless elements. . . ."
Those words so succinctly describe the life of the inventor. "Unrewarded genius" (in the words of Calvin Coolidge, except that the rewards are the kind of joy one receives from discovery. Such is the construction of man that shear discovery is ample reward for years of toil.
There is a great cautionary tale included Musk's remarks about Artificial Intelligence. Worth watching just for that. Start about here.