Along the way we’ve encountered all manner of things that are supposed to fuel creativity. By now the list could be endless. But along comes Scott Kaufman with the latest creativity booster: Social Rejection. Yes, being shunned and ignored could actually lead you to be more creative in a world where creativity is widely embraced. Those who are socially rejected tend to work toward gaining approval and acceptance, and ultimately this drives them to be more creative. “By definition, creative solutions are unusual, involving the recombination of ideas. Unusual, divergent ideas and access to distant, remote associations are hallmarks of creative thinking. Perhaps those who like to distance themselves from others are more likely to also recruit associations from unusual places and think beyond conventional ideas,” he said. Some of the most creative people have faced social rejection.
For now, there isn’t a clear explanation of how social rejection and creativity go together but there are theories. One such theory speculates that social rejects have a tendency toward individuality. They don’t march to the beat of the crowd of drummers, instead choosing their own set of rhythms. As a result they may be rejected by others, in which case social rejection is a consequence of rather than a reason for their creative bent. Other scenarios indicate that the experience of social rejection may promote creativity. Of course, social rejection as an experience isn’t a pleasant thing and may actually be harmful to some people. While at face value, this is an interesting theory, we don’t advocate social rejection of others in the hopes that they might become more creative.