Is 30 the New 20? Research Says, Yes

Research finds innovators see great breakthroughs during late 30s

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There’s always been that pressure for 20-somethings, straight out of high school and into college or real-world hustles, to make something of themselves and elevate to the next level by age 30. If you haven’t “made it” by then, some may see it as failure.

But many in pop culture—as well as the business world—have shown that those fears may be unfounded and that “making it” oftentimes doesn’t happen in your 20s. (Think popular Jay-Z song, “30 Something,” where he touts one’s 30s being prime years far surpassing the promise years of the 20s.)

Science has also given a co-sign to the notion that it’s OK if you haven’t reached your career (or success) peak in your 20s, finding that, in fact, your late 30s, are your most creative and winning years.

According to research highlights of The National Bureau of Economic Research, released by The Atlantic, one’s late 30s are a time of major innovation and career peaks. Authors looked at the high points of the careers of great inventors and Nobel-Prize winning scientists and found that “innovators have been peaking slightly later in life as the 20th century has progressed, in part because today’s scientists have more to learn than their predecessors did.”

But what’s so special about one’s 30s? After pre-K and high school education, post-high-school studies for academic degrees, and transitioning into on-the-job learning, oftentimes people are in their 30s and beyond. Time holds a factor in that experience and knowledge increases, allowing for more dynamic strides in one’s career.

“Genius, it seems, happens when a seasoned mind sees a problem with fresh eyes,” writes Olga Khazan for The Atlantic.

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