Many adults tend to lament their days of youthful naïveté, most notably the free-flowing creativity that often comes with it. Without a filter for your thoughts, nor a care for others' opinions, childhood seems to lend itself to thinking outside of the box more than adulthood at times. And while we'd all love to possess that same childlike curiosity and wonder as adults, it turns out that your peak years for creativity are actually decades later.
Consider the research from the Erasmus School of Economics in the Netherlands. Philip Hans Franses, an economist and professor at the university, has devoted his career to studying the minds of the world's most creative people. Focusing specifically on Nobel Prize–winning literature laureates, the most popular classical composers, and 221 of the world's most accomplished painters, Franses conducted three separate studies between 2013 and 2016, according to Inc.
After analyzing the results of these three studies, Franses found the average age of peak creativity to be 42 years old. In terms of life span, each of the few hundred creatives studied had already lived roughly 61 percent—or around two-thirds—of their lives when they produced their most influential works. While Franses's studies focus on a highly specific coterie of creative individuals, his findings lend legitimacy to the idea that creative genius can be developed throughout a lifetime, rather than peaking in your early 20s (looking at you, Mark Zuckerberg).