Rejection Breeds Creativity
Research from Johns Hopkins University suggests that having our ideas rejected tends to boost our creativity output. Sharon Kim and her colleagues found that when most of us experience rejection, it can actually enhance our creativity, depending on how we respond to it. The paper, titled “Outside Advantage: Can Social Rejection Fuel Creative Thought?” was recently accepted for publication by the Journal of Experimental Psychology. It also received a best-paper award at the Academy of Management (AOM) conference held this month in Boston.
From the study:
In the first experiment, participants were given a series of personality questions and told they would be considered for participation in several group exercises in the future. When the participants returned to the laboratory a week later, some of them were asked to complete a few tasks before joining their group (inclusion), others were told that none of the groups had chosen them and they would need to complete their tasks independently (rejection). When they calculated the results, the researchers found that “rejected” participants significantly outperformed those that were included in a group. Consider the difference between those who respond to rejection by sulking versus those who respond by rolling up their sleeves and thinking “I’ll show them.”