If you’ve ever wondered why your mind is a hotspot for new ideas in your 20s, it could be that you’re experiencing the first of two creative peaks.
New research from Ohio State University found that our mid-20s is when our brains first become fertile ground for innovation.
The study looked at previous winners of the Nobel Prize in economics.
It found that those who did their most groundbreaking work in their 20s tended to be “conceptual” innovators.
So basically they had a light bulb moment and acted upon it.
But don’t panic if you’ve gone past your mid-20s without a flicker of an idea – some of us won’t hit our inspirational stride until our mid-50s.
‘I’ve been most creative in my 20s’
Nana Jones Darko, 24, runs a mobile barbers.
He says he’s always had loads of ideas for businesses but as he approaches his mid-20s he feels he’s at his most creative.
“I’m learning more about technology and networking.
“I think people take you more seriously too when you’re a bit older – and barriers break down – so that helps your creative brain flow and pump out ideas.”
Just as well – because Nana feels there’s loads of pressure from parents and peers to succeed by your mid-20s, especially if you don’t follow the “normal” career path.
He says that pressure also comes from “what you see on the TV and footballers who are 20 and earning £200k a week”.
“I really do believe there’s a big pressure to succeed in business by your mid-20s.
“It’s your environment that literally pushes you to financially succeed – and have it all by 25.
“But I now believe you’re supposed to build in your mid-20s but I don’t believe it’s meant to be your peak.”
‘You’re never too old to be creative’
If you haven’t quite achieved what you wanted to earlier on in life, then you can look forward to your second creative peak, in your 50s.
“This work really does point to the fact that there are very important innovators who do their best work much later in their lives,” the study’s author Professor Weinberg says.
“And if that isn’t what’s happening to you, that you’re not one of the people who’s revolutionising things in your 20s that doesn’t mean that you can’t do really important things later on.
Professor Weinberg says that young people who feel they’ve got more to accomplish should keep going.
“Someone who is experimental and is accumulating knowledge gradually over time is someone who really, really should not give up.
“I mean we don’t necessarily know how eminent they will get and how their achievements will be.
“But for that type of person they will do their best work – at least their best innovative work – later in their careers and they should be aware of that and keep going.”
Nana says his mum is one of them.
Now in her 50s, she’s setting up her own business – starting up fashion schools.