So, who’s more likely to MOTIVATE you to accomplish a goal – one of your talented peers, or a talented KID? Turns out that a child prodigy whose achievements make you feel like a slacker can spur you on better than an older superstar. As long as they’re in a different field.

For example, while you may never achieve the accomplishments of, say, Doctor Doogie Howser, the intimidating comparison to him will push you to excel in your own way, so you can regain your social dignity! According to Psychology Today, a new study from Stanford found that people performed better on a test of verbal skills after reading about a young math whiz, than they did after reading about either a young verbal whiz, or an older brainiac who excelled in either area. The theory is, that if a younger kid outdoes you in your own field, they’re not an inspiration because they’ve already outscored you at your own game. Lead researcher Camile Johnson says it’s simple logic. If you never feel bad about yourself, you’ll never feel the need to change or do more. Need some inspiration? Take a listen to these accomplishments:

  • The Youngest Nobel Laureate ever is Lawrence Bragg. In 1915, he and his father shared the Nobel prize in physics. He was 25.
  • The Youngest Oscar winner? Tatum O’Neal. At age 10, she won best supporting actress for the movie Paper Moon.
  • Freddy Adu became youngest major league soccer player in 2002, at the age of 14.