A lot of people think that getting old sucks — and it's true, your body might become less and less mobile, but studies beginning to emerge that the older the brain gets, the more creative and innovative it becomes!
If you take a look at Debbie Downer research, you see claims of it becoming harder to learn things and slower reaction times after you cross the middle-age threshold.
Here's what the director of the Cognitive Aging Laboratory at the University of Virginia has to say about it:
"Although there is no shortage of opinions about cognitive aging, it sometimes seems that relatively few of the claims are based on well-established empirical evidence … assertions about cognitive aging may be influenced as much by the authors' preconceptions and attitudes as by systematic evaluations of empirical research."
Meaning, discoveries of decline in the laboratory might not reflect success out in the real world, and there is often considerable variation among different people of the same age.
So, why is an aging mind better?
Empathy. Your capacity to empathize gets stronger as you get older, and that's one of the first steps in innovation:
"Because of their greater capacity to empathize, older people can have a better sense of the things that may charge up another person's brain and get them excited."
Also, an aging brain can better locate patterns and see the big picture!
In other words, when you're older you've had more experiences, which means more dots to connect for problem solving.
You're also better at foreseeing problems!
You just need the incentive to continue these creative thoughts — what you think, you believe. If you believe you'll get worse and worse later on, you probably will… unless you continue to apply yourself.
This also means that us younger people need to give those older than us more chances, regardless of age!
[Image via AP Images.]