Try to recall and go back to those moments when your ideas got rejected. How did you handle those rejections? Did you just instantly give up? When you get rejected, the key is to use that as your motivation to come back with an even better idea.
Having our ideas rejected actually motivates us to be even more creative. Research from Johns Hopkins University suggests that having our ideas rejected tends to boost our creative output. In the paper, titled Outside Advantage: Can Social Rejection Fuel Creative Thought?, Johns Hopkins professor 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.
In the 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, half of them were asked to complete a few tasks before joining their group (inclusion). While the other half were told that none of the groups had chosen them and they would need to complete their tasks independently (rejection).
After calculating the results, the researchers found that the rejected participants significantly outperformed those included in the group. And so, when you consider the difference, those who got rejected weren’t just sulking. They rolled up their sleeves thinking they were going to get back with an even better performance.
When you get rejected, turn the negative energy of anger or pain into positive energy and let that fuel your desire to come up with even better ideas.
You can also use this method to fuel other people to come back with even better ideas. When you’re working with somebody, whether that’s a colleague, your child, a spouse, or someone else, and they pitch an idea to you that you don’t think is acceptable, go ahead and reject it.
However, it’s critical that you handle it the right way. In that moment of rejection, when they’re at their lowest and they’re feeling bad, tell them to work on it and come back with something even better. In other words, turn that energy around and channel it to get their creative juices flowing because of the rejection that just happened. It’s uncomfortable to reject somebody, but you can actually help them tap into their inner creative self.
To hear more on how to let rejection work to your advantage, listen to the full podcast episode here: Episode 035: Rejection Breeds Creativity.