Sometimes childhood rejection is transformed into strength. If a child or adolescent can survive feelings of exclusion, either through effective rationalizations or the winning of compensatory prizes, the later anticipation of criticism provokes minimal uncertainty. Many years ago, two psychologists at the University of California in Berkeley compared mathematicians and architects who had been nominated by their peers as extremely creative with members of the same profession who were judged successful but judged less creative. A major difference between the two groups was that the creative professionals had experienced peer rejection during adolescence because of physical stigmata, less talent at peer-valued skills, or membership in a minority group. The chronic rejection permitted these creative professionals to develop an indifference to peer opinion that made it easier to entertain ideas they knew would be unpopular.

source: Jerome Kagan, An Argument for Mind, 109 tags: Solitude, Creativity, Teenagers