22    Oct 20120 comments

Family: Creative ancestors?

Were your ancestors innovative or creative? What else do you know about them? Were they social individuals or were they outsiders? Did others consider them “different” in some way?

According to a new Cornell University study, social rejects can be tomorrow’s innovators because being an outcast can lead to heightened creativity and even commercial success.

"If you have the right way of managing rejection, feeling different can help you reach creative solutions,” said Jack Goncalo, associate professor of organizational behavior at Cornell University’s ILR School. “Unlike people who have a strong need to belong, some socially rejected people shrug off rejection with an attitude of ‘normal people don’t get me and I am meant for something better.’ Our paper shows how that works.”

The researchers found that social exclusion – in the workplace or elsewhere – can stimulate creativity for people with an independent sense of self.

“We’re not dismissing the negative consequences rejection has on many individuals, but for some people, the rejection has a golden lining,” Goncalo said. “For the socially rejected, creativity may be the best revenge.”

You can read more about researcher Jack Goncalo’s study.

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