Have you heard about John Goodenough?
He’s 94. And he just, as stated in a recent issue of The New York Times, “set the tech industry abuzz with his blazing creativity.” Seems John and his team have come up with a new kind of battery that could potentially revolutionize electric cars.
Course this was nothing new for John. In 1980, at the age of 57, he also helped come up with a new miniature lithium ion battery.
So much for all those who say aging means you can’t be creative. Or have new ideas. Or astound the world.
The Times article goes on to say how a 2016 Information Technology and Innovation Foundation study found that “inventors peak in their late 40s and tend to be highly productive in the last half of their careers.” Also, the peak of creativity for Nobel Prize winners is getting higher every year.
Now remember, John Goodenough is 94. He might just be getting started.
42% of Robert Frost’s anthologized poems were written after the age of 50.
Psychologist Oliver Sachs was extraordinarily creative well into his 80s.
There are those who say that creativity can be divided into two types of people. Conceptual thinkers tend to peak young. But experimental thinkers reach their zenith at a much older age. That’s because they are constantly exploring, experimenting, and adding wisdom as they age. It takes many years to get there, but achieving greatness late in life is possible. Cézanne was known for revisiting subjects again and again.
That’s good news for all of us. Because what is life, if not a giant Big Chief tablet that we scribble on every day?
Maybe we can’t always remember to bring the grocery list with us to the store. Or why we walked into a room. Or where our glasses are.
But maybe we are better at letting the unnecessary drop away so the essence of what we are trying to create can come to the top. Our years of trial and error teach us many things. One important lesson can be to let go of the fear of failure…just try it.
Brain researchers tell us older brains are better at seeing the big picture. Better at empathy. The key is to keep challenging our brains as we age. Learning new things, trying new things, taking in information.
Who knows…you might just be the next great inventor.
“Creativity is a wild mind and a disciplined eye.”