In a new study (Creative Careers: The Life Cycles of Nobel Laureates in Economics) published in the journal De Economist (a quick and easy-to-read summary can be found here), researchers found that creativity peaks in your mid-20s or your mid-50s.
The researchers analyzed the life cycles of 31 winners of the Nobel Prize in economics to conclude:
- Those who had a more conceptual approach to their work and tended to use assumptions, proofs, and equations were more likely to hit their creative peak in their younger days.
- Those who were experimental didn’t hit their stride until later on in life, when they used all of the knowledge that they had accumulated in order to “think outside the box.”
For the conceptual laureates, it was often either at the age of 25 or 29 while for the experimental ones, it wasn’t until they were 57. This means that if you are in your 40s and you still haven’t found that great idea that’ll make you famous, you still have plenty of time.