Creativity can last well into old age, as long as creators stay open to new ideas

Posted on November 28, 2013

Doris Lessing, the freewheeling Nobel Prize-winning writer on racism, colonialism, feminism and communism who died Sunday at age 94, was prolific for most of her life. But five years ago, she said the writing had dried up.

“Don’t imagine you’ll have it forever,” she said, according to one obituary. “Use it while you’ve got it because it’ll go; it’s sliding away like water down a plug hole.”

Does creativity have an expiration date?

We are used to wunderkinds, Mozarts and Zuckerbergs whose innovations in classical music and social media in their 20s transformed the culture. But the origins of creativity are complex, influenced by societal, emotional and neurological factors. And although some creative minds do peak in younger years, the trajectory is often not straightforward.

“Enhanced creativity is associated with greater satisfaction,” NEA research director Sunil Iyengar said.

Dementia or brain damage can affect creative output. But in a healthy brain, decline is not a given, said Mark Walton, author of “Boundless Potential: Transform Your Brain, Unleash Your Talents, Reinvent Your Work in Midlife and Beyond.”

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Category(s):Aging & Geriatric Issues, Creative Blocks

Source material from WallStreet Journal