Calendar designed by Michela Tannoia from The Noun Project

Calendar designed by Michela Tannoia from The Noun Project

There will always be the outliers, but most accomplished creatives need many years of practice, mistakes, and determination before they make their best creative work. So when can the average person expect to hit their stride? Economist P.H. Franses decided to come at the question in a different way with surprising results.

In a newly published paper, he reports that painters create their most masterful works (at least as determined by the marketplace) “at the 0.618 fraction of their lives.”

Does that number sound familiar? Another term for it is the “Golden Mean,” the mathematical ratio that appears throughout nature.

On average, the painters produced their most highly valued work when they were 41.92 years old; they had lived just under 62 percent of their total lives.

Read the rest here.

  • Sarah Peterson

    Oh. Wow. The Golden Ratio does it again… fascinating.

  • D-Money

    Yikes @ citing the designer of that sad clip art :

  • Mike

    Ya I remember it was at 42.618 when I found out George Carlin was right when he said: Its all bullshit, and it bad for ya!”

  • mikecrowl

    I’d like to think this had some truth in it, but I suspect it’s just playing with numbers. Different creative people create at different stages of their lives…some early, some very late – few really creative people stop creating altogether. Creation is an ongoing process, surely, rather than something that peaks.

  • Celeste Thoms

    Makes sense. Many successful people had their greatest success after the age of 40. Vera Wang got into the fashion industry at 40, Samual L Jackson got his big break in Jungle Fever at 43, and Laura Ingalls Wilder published “Little House” when she was 65. I think if anything, it proves we’re creative at any stage of life. Not just when we’re really young or old. As long as a person continues their creative persuits they’ll be great at any age. There’s a director, Manoel de Oliveira, who is still directing at 105 years old. An 80 year career. That’s awesome. I want to be him when I grow up.

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