Was Albert Einstein born great, achieve greatness or had greatness thrust upon him?
Does Albert Einstein fit in all 3 or only 2 or only 1? Please provide some detail. Why does he fit in these 3 or 2 or 1?
I feel that no one is born great. The achievement of greatness is within a person and is established by his/her foundation of choices and of course it is developed by the series of events that occurred around him/her at the time.
With Einstein, I believe the foundation of choice stemmed from his inability to be successful in certain areas of academia. The circumstances at hand, pushed him to think outside the box and find answers to questions that had probably not been asked. Why? Probably because he was bored. He found something that no one else had conquered and developed processes and theories that would allow results.
As he grew older and began to display his achievement of greatness through multiple publications of research and development, the necessity of his answers caused greatness. Einstein was not understood by his peers in the area of physics. Therefore the demand for his skills and abilities would have been a catapult of his greatness. Of course the introduction of atomic energy into the picture was also a 'thrust' into the arena of greatness.
Einstein achieved greatness through his determination and genius intellect. Einstein was thrust into greatness by the demands of first, his learning disability and then second, the need for his genius by various institutions and governments.
I think the interesting part of this question is the "born great." I can't imagine how anyone could be born great, but I do think that individuals are born with different "potentials" that may or may not be actualized in their lives depending on the circumstances they grow up in. This brings to mind the entire question of genius. How do we explain the great musical composer of history: Mozart, Beethoven, Lizst, Wagner, Puccini ... you get the idea. Their work does not seem to be just quantitatively different but qualitatively different. If you think of invocations to the Muse before some poems, authors even seem to realize that something act in them that is almost external to them ... is this an explanation of genius?
As has been noted, Einstein didn't do all that well in school, and this may have opened up his mind since he was never told what he "had" to believe. But I believe he had some potential which he may have been born with, that resulted in his greatness.
Like all new born babies, Albert Einstein was also born as a small helpless infant, weighing, may be, around 4 kilos or less, unable to read, writer, or even talk. But like most of the new born babies he had a great potential. Perhaps, his body and mind had some physical characteristic that gave him some better aptitude for the profession of a mathematician and a scientist that he took up later. But all of these definitely did not qualify him to be considered to be great from birth. I am not sure if he was even different enough from average new born babies to be called exceptional.
Whatever, capabilities and achievements, qualify Einstein to be considered great were acquired as he grew up. Thus, I would say Einstein achieved greatness by his efforts, in which perhaps he was assisted by others like parents and other family members, teachers, friends, and professional associates. Thus I would say that He achieved greatness.
The case of greatness being thrust upon a person happens when a person is placed in a situation where he or she is forced to act in ways which are not typical of his or her normal behavior, and such actions lead to great achievements. In life of Einstein no such events have occurred. Therefor, we cannot say that greatness was thrust upon him.