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Why Having Kids Won’t Derail Your Intellectual And Creative Thinking

Being a father can make you feel like the only thing you have in common with a creative genius is wearing sweatpants in public. With your kid sucking the energy and general life out of you, it’s easy to look back on your 20s as your peak — physically, financially, intellectually, hygiene … ly? If that’s how you feel, the good folks at the National Bureau Of Economic Research have some good news: Your best creative breakthroughs are yet to come.

Age At Which Nobel Prize Winners Have Creative BreakthroughsNational Bureau Of Economic Research

Looking at the achievements of Nobel Prize winners and great technological innovators in the 20th Century, the authors found the link between innovation and youth to be a bit of a myth. For both groups, most significant scientific and technological breakthroughs occurred in their late 30s. Quartz points out that the same pattern can be found in the arts — such as with former LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy, who released his first critically acclaimed album at age 35 only after passing up an opportunity to write for Seinfeld at 21. It turns out, the geniuses you thought were wunderkinds were actually wunderkindas, until they hit their stride a little later in life.

The researchers frustratingly neglected to mention how many of these guys had kids, but they do mention that “family responsibilities may play an important role in shaping life-cycle creativity.” So, there you have it: being a father might just inspire your best thinking. And, when it does, you won’t even need a Nobel Prize for it — although a medal or maybe a championship belt would be nice. Otherwise your kids probably won’t believe you.

[H/T] Quartz